To get in tune, it is key to understand that as science advances, it has been discovered that the human brain does not work uniformly, it works in cycles. Although there are different types of cycles or biological rhythms, we want to focus on the ultradian cycles.
In other words, many changes occur in the organism after a regular interval of time and ultradian cycles and correspond to the lapses of full attention and total dispersion, it is crucial to take these cycles into account and their pauses would make us more productive.
Ultradian rhythms, as well as all biological rhythms, establish cycles and are not only related to the cycles of rest and mental activity but also to eating and motor behaviors.
Ultradian rhythms are the least known and are related to productivity at work since they are biological rhythms that last less than 20 hours. They include processes ranging from a millisecond to several hours. They include sleep stages, heart rate, breathing rate, and others.
What has been established so far is that due to ultradian rhythms we have peaks and valleys in our daily productivity. This takes place in cycles of 90 to 120 minutes (this depends a lot on the person and the moment).
The characteristic signs of these productivity valleys are several:
- You feel more exhausted.
- You start working at a much slower pace.
- You are easily distracted.
- You make more mistakes.
TIP: The best thing you can do in those moments is to pause; You will help your level of attention to recover sooner.
Several studies try to show how often people should take a break from their daily work, among them we can name:
- A study by the University of Illinois (2011), published in the journal Science, indicated that productivity peaks are reached when a break is taken every 50 minutes.
- Professor Peretz Lavie, a researcher at the Israel Institute of Technology and an expert on the subject, has pointed out that the ideal working time, before a break, is 20 minutes.
- An Italian factory installed a "chronobiological" device and found that the most productive workers were those who worked for 52 minutes straight and then rested 17.
Although this is very specific data that represents a few people, each of us must analyze our productivity to find the most beneficial cut-off points.
So how can ultradian cycles help you improve your productivity? The main thing is that you can determine your ultradian cycle; for this, you must take into account the following:
- MOMENT OF MAXIMUM CONCENTRATION: It is the moment in which you must execute a task that requires you to concentrate. It is important that you pay attention to when your mind begins to wander.
- MOMENT OF DISTRACTION: It is the moment when your body tries to move more and you find it difficult to pay attention to the task you are performing.
- RELAX MOMENT: When your mind begins to feel exhausted and you go through the moment of distraction you should take a 10-minute break and then return to your task.
TIP: Generally, periods of maximum concentration can last between 50 and 90 minutes without rest, depending on the individual, so it is crucial that you discover what your optimal duration is.
At the moment you find your ultradian cycle, define that "TIME THAT YOU ACHIEVE MAXIMUM CONCENTRATION" (Do not forget that, like any muscle, with exercise, you can get your brain to concentrate for longer)
These tips will be useful so that you can define the exact moment when your mind begins to lose focus and thus you can improve your productivity. What is the moment where you can have the greatest concentration?