Would you believe me if I told you that I feel more productive since getting a puppy than before?
I know. Even I find that hard to believe sometimes. But it's true! I look back at my time before we got Milo, and I genuinely wonder how I filled up my days.
Milo is a puppy with a lot of energy. He needs at least two decent walks a day. He's also very loving, which means that he wants cuddles ALL the time. Sweet, but not very useful when you're trying to type at your desk and he insists on sitting on your lap. *Side note* he's not so small anymore.
We also live in an apartment, which means we don't have our own garden to let him out into. So, you guessed it, every time he needs to wee, I have to go out with him!
So you can already see how even if I don't want to get up from my desk every hour or so, I pretty much am given no choice.
When we first got him, I genuinely had a couple of panicked moments where I thought my entire business would crumble before my eyes, because I wouldn't have time to get everything done. But this magical thing happened: I got MORE work done.
It all comes down to breaks.
I've since read up about this, and seen it mentioned quite a few times, but the key to a productive work day is actually to take more breaks! Our minds are amazing, but they can get tired. The reality is that you're simply not capable of working solidly for 8 hours straight at full capacity. It may have taken me getting a puppy to realise this, but I'm here to try and save you some time.
So how should you break up your day?
1. Find out when you're most productive: The first step for me was to realise that I am incredibly productive first thing in the morning. I write all my blog posts between 8-10am. It's just when I feel the most inspired and productive. For that reason, I try my best to keep my mornings free. Milo needs to go on a walk in the morning, but thankfully for me, he likes to sleep in the mornings! So around 10am, when I've written a blog post, or done my emails, or whatever my "important task of the day" has been, I'll take him for a walk.
2. Get Outside: The magical thing for me has been getting outside more often. I thought I got out a lot before, but now I'm going on at least two 30-40 minute walks a day with Milo. These walks are often where my best ideas come. Nature makes me feel a lot of clarity, and if I'm having a bad morning, or feeling really tired, this walk is bound to wake me up, or make me feel better.
3. Move At Least Every 60 Minutes: Take it from the girl with back trouble, you must not sit at your desk all day without moving! Get up, stretch, move your legs. Your back will thank you.
4. Drink Water: Yes, I know you've heard it before but it's because it's true! If you're wanting to be productive, yet you're not giving your body hydration, how productive do you think you'll truly be? The answer: not very. Set an alarm on your phone for every hour and make that when you get up and drink a glass of water.
5. Take a lunch break: It can be 30 minutes, or an hour. However long you want it to be, but taking the time to move away from your desk, eat something and recharge is so important. When you come back to your desk, you'll be ready to carry on.
6. See A Friend: If you're freelance, then use that freedom! Anna and I meet up at least once a week for an hour long walk. They're the perfect opportunity for us to vent, discuss ideas, worries, or just think about something other than work for a bit! We also try to go somewhere new whenever we can, because it's sure to spark inspiration.
7. Turn Off Notifications: Did you know that it can take up to 25 minutes to regain focus after a distraction?!I try to put my phone on Do Not Disturb whilst I'm doing work that really requires a lot of brain power (like this blog post!). When I finish a task, or feel like I need a break, thats when I look at my phone. It's so easy to get distracted by our technology, or our emails.
8. Aim For Two Hour Blocks: I try to keep my "work blocks" to two hours at a time. This always feels like a decent amount of time for me to be able to get one, or two tasks done, and done well. I will get up for 10 minutes or so (normally to take Milo outside quickly) between each hour, and then take a longer 30-60 minute break after two hours. Play around with this for yourself and tweak it to work for you.
I hope that this has helped you in some way! Will you be taking more breaks throughout your working day? Let me know in the comments below!