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  • Writer's pictureHouria Bellatif

Productivity and Recharge: An ongoing rhythmic dance

Imagine you have a brand-new phone with high-capacity storage, the most memory on the market and all the bells and whistles out there. It executes your commands fast, keeps up with all your notes, and even multitasks to allow you maximum productivity. This little machine works perfectly until it needs charging. Then you realize: "No charger."

You then try all the battery-saving tricks you know: Close unnecessary apps, activate the battery-saving mode, reduce brightness, etc. The phone will continue to run as long as its battery has some juice left. It gives you everything it has until it no longer can and completely shuts off.

We all agree that none of this is surprising, yet when it comes to the most hard-working human batteries, "Mind & Body," we let them drain quickly. We rarely have a care plan, do not recharge them frequently, yet expect them to continue working at their peak.

More times than not, we subject our brain and body to continuous cycles of nonstop tasks: Back-to-back meetings, one task after another, no transition time, and no time to pause or charge our internal batteries. This recurrent go-go rhythm depletes our emotional and physical capital sources. By the time we realize it, the impact is all too palpable, both for us and others around us: Lack of focus, fatigue, stress, irritability, unregulated moods, and poor decisions. The list can go on.

Our brain & body can self-regulate during the day until their resources are lost and need replenishment. Tony Schwartz, the author of the best-seller, The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy Not Time" outlined the need for up and down cycles we go through daily: "Human beings are designed to be rhythmic. The heart pulses: muscles contract and relax. We're at our best when moving rhythmically between spending energy and renewing it."

ou might say that is all great. 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐠𝐞; 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐝𝐨 𝐈 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞?

Have you had days you run from one meeting to another, skipping lunch, forgetting to drink water even? I would bet a large majority of you might say yes. And before we start talking about hours or even days to recharge, we can start small. In tiny shifts, change is more sustainable, as outlined in this habit-changing article. (

And if you think I do not even have 5 min, I invite you to think again. Below is the result from a poll I posted about the default choice for the length of meetings. Almost 50% of the respondents said they go with the default 60 min duration.

Do you think you can fit the content of a 60 min meeting into 50 min? How about covering the topics in 30 min instead of 25 min?

When you reflect on the most recent meetings, you might answer: Most likely. And if that is the case, congratulations, you just got back 5 min or even 10 min into your day. Now what?

What can I do in 5 or 10 minutes to help me recharge? Well, any of these quick recharging activities:

Get up and move around during or in between meetings. A quick walk or stretching can help re-energize the body and clear the mind.

Hydration: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration and help us stay alert.

4x4x4 breathing: Also called 'Box Breathing.' Inhale for 4 sec, hold for 4 sec and exhale for 4. This breathing pattern allows us to increase our presence at the moment and improve focus almost.

Time for self: It might be commuting, walking, showering, or even between meetings. That time can be for reading, music, art, nature, or being still. The key is finding the activities to charge us or fast charge us.

Try something new: Finding things that bring energy can be difficult, so exploring new activities, hobbies, meeting new crowds, and going into things we are not comfortable with is a source of energy and thrive.

These small activities can help us avoid the occasional slump. It is incredible how much better we feel after a short break to gather our thoughts and be more present and focused.

When we take the time to re-energize, we are better able to show up as our best selves, ready to engage and be productive. When we don't make time to recharge, we run the risk of burning out, which can lead to lower quality work, decreased engagement and reduced productivity.

So, the next time you are feeling run down or think you can't possibly fit one more thing into your schedule, remember to recharge!

I would love to hear how you choose to take those breaks, so please share ways you choose to fill your energy buckets.

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