If you want a more productive day, new research proves two actions will help:
First, take advantage of three stages in your day: the peak, trough, and rebound:
During the peak, our focus is at its best. Usually, the peak occurs in the morning and becomes the ideal time to tackle work that requires focused attention such as writing a legal brief or auditing a financial statement.
The trough is the “Bermuda Triangle” of our days – the place where effectiveness and good intentions disappear. Experts say this is when we should accomplish administrative work like answering email or filing paper.
Most of us experience a rebound in the late afternoon and early evening when we do our finest brainstorming and other creative pursuits; we can come up with new ideas that we might have missed earlier in the day.
Second: We should also take regular breaks.
Research shows taking short breaks throughout the day helps us maintain focus and reactivates our commitment to a goal. One study showed school children who took regular breaks scored higher on tests, and another found technology-free breaks increased vigor and reduced emotional exhaustion.
Taking a break is not only a scientifically-proven good idea but also a Heavenly one.
After creating the universe, God took a break (Genesis 2:2). Also, taking a break is so important to God that He made the “Sabbath” (a full day off from work) one of the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:8). However, many of us don’t fully appreciate why God wants us to take a break from our work.
In her 28-day devotional entitled, Breathing Room, Sandra Stanley says God’s purpose for the Sabbath is to prove to us that He can be trusted.
In Exodus 31:13, God says to Moses:
“Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come so you may know that I am the Lord …’”
Stanley explains the backstory:
“At the time God gave this command, the Israelites had been slaves for 400 hundred years. The only life they knew was working all day, every day. There were thousands of them, and they did not have pantries and refrigerators filled with food. If they didn’t work that day, they didn’t eat that day. So, God telling them to take an entire day off was an extreme request. They were terrified they would all go hungry.”
Many of us can relate.
We fear we will fall behind and “lose ground” if we stop working.
That’s precisely why we must discover what God did for the Israelites.
On the Sabbath, God provided twice as much food as usual (Exodus 16:29-30).
“And it would stay fresh, so their Sabbath needs were covered. God responded to their fear of going hungry by faithfully providing their daily bread, even on the day that He had asked them not to work.”
God and science agree about taking a break.
So, after you rearrange your schedule to take advantage of your peak, trough, and rebound, then:
- hand over your task list to God,
- give your self-sufficiency a rest,
- quit worrying about inadequacy,
- and take a break.
God wants to show you that He is trustworthy.
Laura Lacey Johnson is a cutting-edge faith and culture writer who focuses on everyday headlines. In addition to speaking, she is a regular contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com and American Family Radio. To read Laura’s latest work on the headlines, visit www.lauralaceyjohnson.com, or to subscribe to her blog, click here.
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