Downtime leads to better productivity

Jamie Mere, Graphics Editor

When leaving for university, my parents stressed to me that I needed to prioritize school work. While I agree that this is good advice, I would also advise every student entering post-secondary to prioritize downtime where they focus on self-care.

In high school, I found that I always had enough time to work on projects while still having a part time job and doing extracurriculars, while simultaneously spending time woth my friends and having time to recharge my battery, so to say.

But after you leave high school, making time for yourself becomes even more difficult.

Something that took a while to learn was that taking breaks from studying or partying is better for your productivity.

In my first year and half of second year, I really waited until it was almost too late to start my assignments, and while I got them done, and did decent on them, my mental health really took a fall.

Often, you hear students talking about powering through their work, but we are not machines and we do not have the ability to continue doing tasks for extended periods of time.

A burn out is defined as ruining one’s health or becoming completely exhausted through overwork. Almost like you lose the joy in things you once had found interesting.

The second half of my second year, I really started to prioritize starting my work earlier and then taking breaks in between.

I know, it’s something that a lot of people do not really want to worry about, making it a ‘night before’ kind of issue, but it really does affect your overall mental state.

A study conducted at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that companies that force their employees to take breaks or vacations increased productivity. If you sit in front of a laptop all day, you become less focused and get less work completed.

An easy way to do that is as soon as you can start a project, start it. If during syllabus week where you do not have much work to do, you are able to start a project, start it.

Or, if a project can be completed little by little after each class, take some time after the class to work on it, that way you do not stress about it.

Now, I’m sitting here and telling you how to do your work, and even though I am trying to get better at doing my work with downtime in between, I am not perfect.

I will still leave assignments until the last minute because I must go to work or because I needed to finish an article, or I just got lazy.

But, if you start to prioritize breaks, you start to schedule your time and that is really what is going to help you down the road.

A study conducted at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that companies that force their employees to take breaks or vacations increased productivity. If you sit in front of a laptop all day, you become less focused and get less work completed.

But with this downtime that you now have, you should be focusing on really taking care of yourself – maybe use the downtime to go to sleep earlier and get a full night’s rest. Sleeping is one of the best things that you can do in downtime, in my opinion.

I look at sleeping  like recharging a battery – so getting a full night’s sleep means that you have a 100 per cent battery, but if you only sleep for maybe four hours then you only have roughly 50 per cent battery – so you have less energy and less ability to focus on your tasks.

Also, try to take a break from your phone, or really any form of technology. It’s difficult but having an hour where you aren’t connected to everything is also very good for your mental health.

It’s difficult, but having an hour where you aren’t connected to everything is also good for your mental health.

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