Autumn is in full swing. And to our eyes’ delight, nature is showing off its array of appetizing colors in many parts of the world.
In the evenings you might notice the sun shining from a certain place, with the sunlight’s warm tone. Some might say autumn is the mixed season.
On one end, it’s the time of year for new beginnings. Children begin a new year of school after their long summer vacations.
For sports fanatics, new fresh perspectives on their favorite teams’ and athletes become the hot topics. And new hobbies are in the plans for people of all ages.
On the other end, nature tells us a different story. During this time of year, nature is shutting down. It shuts down in a way that it stops being productive. The productive phase of spring and summer has come to an end, while the long, dark season of rest begins. And so, it goes.
There’s no denying the clear rhythm of nature and of the four seasons.
Can the idea of the four seasons and each season’s clear rhythm be applied to work life?
What are the four seasons and hints of sunlight in your daily work at the office?
Research shows there are glowing benefits in the time of rest during the workdays.
Typically, when you hear about the idea of improving our work, it’s common to consider things like work-task effectiveness and the content of our work, with the ambition of increasing productivity with clearer goals and easier ways of working.
While it has been found that specific, yet challenging goals can be highly motivating, it’s not the whole story and it would be naïve not to consider the wider picture of our work days.
What happens in between productive, task-oriented work activities? According to work design research, we should also pay attention to the more tedious and mindless work periods.
“Creatively speaking, a productive work day isn’t defined with an iron fist.”
Research shows that equal attention should be given to the idle work periods during our work days, when we’re not focused on anything too important.
One of the most important work tasks may even be when you’re tossing something in the trash or washing your hands. In other words, when you’re not even thinking about anything. Why? Well, it’s said the best ideas have a way of approaching us when we’re not crunching our brains trying to invent the best ideas.
Cognitive brain research has more specifically shown that creative work requires the functioning of two different networks of our brain. When we focus on goals and solve problems, the task-positive network of brain areas is triggered and becomes active.
When we’re inactive, another network called the default mode network gets active, where the mind can wonder from one thing to another. Our brains are active in this default mode, too, and therefore we should rhythm our work days to include these inactive, idle and mindless times.
“Taking breaks and being “unproductive” from the outside can help us achieve our goals. In fact, micro breaks can be very helpful, especially if you take a walk outside or do a relaxation exercise.”
Sometimes the most productive thing to do is rest and rest as an activity requires a calm environment. During long, intensive workdays, acoustic pods, like the NapQ, can help us to recharge when needed.
All this can be beautifully summed up in a quote by French composer, Claude Debussy.
“Music is the space between the notes.”
If our work activities are the musical notes, then we should also carefully compose periods of rest in between the activities.