TickTock Productivity and Healthy Minds

There are only 24 hours in a day. Of those 24 hours we spend about 8 hours asleep. This means we have 16 hours left in a day to spend… living. This is a period of time we need to spend well! Does your workload get bigger and bigger? Do you find that you have barely energy left to do the things you really enjoy? Stop what you are doing, right now! You are not doing your mind any favours.

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I know what it is like to take on more and more work, to want to do well, and to spend all waking hours focused on that. Unfortunately, in my case this resulted in a bit of breakdown late last year. My skin was showing the effects, eating behaviour (or lack of) was a sign, sleepless nights ruminating, theorizing, doubting my abilities and teeth grinding should have been a major indicator of my unconscious self, telling me that it was enough, that I couldn’t keep going this way… that something just had to change.

After what I like to call “my little episode” I took charge of getting myself better and learnt to enjoy taking time off. As my organisational skills are pretty decent, I decided to plan all the different tasks of the day. I incorporate brief mindfulness sessions (10 minutes at work) when I feel like it, this keeps me focused on the different tasks at hand.

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One major change during my day was the use of Toggl. I have to spend time doing admin, reading, writing proposals/reports/grant applications, working on the blog, attending meetings, and working on various research projects. I dedicate a chunk of a day to a specific task and focus solely on that task. Using Toggl has really helped to do this consistently. It tracks what projects I have been working on, and how much time was spent per session as well as total time per project.

Toggl’s time tracker is built for speed and ease of use. Time keeping with Toggl is so simple that you’ll actually use it. Toggl drives a stake in the heart of timesheets.

This online time tracker app shows how much you are actually getting done, and gosh has that helped. As I never used to track my work activities, I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough, and this led to late nights and weekends in the office, and the inability to switch off my mind – Not good!

Enjoying a FroYo with fresh fruit during this year's conference in Cyprus
Enjoying a FroYo with fresh fruit during this year’s conference in Cyprus

I have never felt more productive… ever. As I dedicate chunks of 20 minutes, I am able to completely focus on the task at hand and get the work done in good time. Using this timer, I have been able to get done what I wanted to do that day, and to switch off when I leave work to thoroughly enjoy the remaining hours I spend living awake. It has also helped me try to make sure to stand up every 20 minutes (get a glass of water, go toilet, print something, or just stand and stretch) . Get out of my desk sitting position to combat the sedentary lifestyle office workers unfortunately have – reducing your sitting time reduces the risk of various chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. 

So overall, using Toggl has made me more productive (or has at least increased my perceived productivity), I have better quality outputs as I can fully concentrate on what I am doing, and has helped my mind switch from one task to another, to total relaxation and enjoyment.

What do you guys use to deal with the stresses of life and work? If you have any tips, I would love to hear them.

❤ Sam

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