Increase your effectiveness by focusing on the cognitive transition
What is the best way to have a break? What are the criteria to determine the quality of a break? I have been asking these questions ever since I know myself.
As a person that tries to have an algorithmic way of life, I have tried many kinds of different activities as the way to spend my breaks over the last 8 years. But, all of the advice I have found online resulted in poor quality breaks. This made me question what it means to have a break.
The Environment Effect
There is an infinite number of things we can do in our breaks. But, the breaks are always limited by the current environment. For example, one can take a nap when working at home but it is hard to do so in a work environment.
The environmental limitations lead us to the optimum ways of having high-quality breaks. Since the environment around us constantly changes, we must also be adopting and finding the optimum ways of having breaks.
بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
Therefore, when you are free (from one task), resume (another task);
Surah El-Inshirah Verse 7
There is no single way of having an optimum break. It constantly changes. To be able to better detect the optimum ones for our current environment, we should keep an eye on the dynamic nature of the environment.
The most important thing for having a high-quality break is knowing that slack time is not the time to waste but rather the time to expand our horizons.
One of the hardest parts of having a high-value break is to achieve the total transition from the job we are currently working on, to some other thing that we have determined to focus on in our breaks.
Sometimes, we may spend our time talking about the job we are working on during our breaks inadvertently. Well, that is the worst kind of break we can have.
For a time interval we spend after leaving our job to be a high-quality break, it should not contain any traces of the old job. The more we have these kinds of low-quality breaks, the less we will be able to feel productive in our work sessions because of our exhausted brains.
The cognitive transition is the key to having an optimum break.
When we can fully achieve the cognitive transition from one thing to another even for a few minutes, the break quality reaches its highest levels.
The cognitive transitioning is quite personal, location-dependent, and also has a temporal dependency. Therefore, it is not easy to decide what to do next statically.
We should always be on the lookout for finding a number of optimum ways to have a great break in our current daily environment and mood. Even the search itself may sometimes be a good task for cognitive transitioning.
Towards The End
All in all, the cognitive transition is the basis for high-quality breaks. Being on the lookout for the current environment for the optimum ways of cognitive transition may help us to increase our effectiveness.
The slack time should not be the time for wasting but rather the time for moving our focus toward the aspects of our life that we would like to see flourish.