A lot of the time when you are not working at your best, you know it. You can feel your thoughts wandering, you can feel the fact that you're struggling to focus. And you know you're not at your best. But sometimes when you're not at your best, you don't even realise that that's what's happening. So let's talk about three surprising signs that you are not working at your best.
You sleep in on the weekends
Sign number one: you sleep in on the weekends.
I know, I know, you love your weekend sleep-ins, and they do you a lot of good. But did you know that if you regularly sleep in every weekend, that means that you are not getting enough sleep throughout the week? If you get enough sleep throughout the week, there's actually no need for you to sleep in, and you naturally wake up whenever you've had enough sleep.
And when we don't get enough sleep throughout the week, we 100% do not do our best work. Now you may or may not be able to control how much sleep you get. The reason that you aren't getting enough sleep throughout the week might just be that you're staying up late doing things that you don't need to be doing, in which case that's fixable. Or it might be something like you have small children who keep you up.
If the amount of sleep that you get is not fully within your control, please make sure that you're taking plenty of breaks throughout your work day to make sure you're giving your mind lots of opportunities to be fully replenished, and for you to be working at your best.
You never get stuck
Surprising sign number two that you are not working at your best is that you never get stuck. Now this sounds kind of weird, right? Because getting stuck is when you're not doing great work, isn't it?
Well, actually getting stuck is a normal part of a working process where you are having creative ideas. If you never ever get stuck, this means you're not challenging yourself creatively in any way at all. You are always able to reach for the right idea at the right time, which means you're not having to come up with interesting or new ideas.
So sometimes getting stuck is a sign that you're pushing yourself just the right amount. That's a really good time to get up, go outside, have a walk, and then come back to your desk with some new ideas floating around your mind. And much of the time, just that short break is enough to get you unstuck and to help you keep going.
You have all your best ideas in the shower
Surprising sign number three that you are not working at your best is, this one's my favourite, that you are having all of your best ideas in the shower. Now, I know a lot of people say to me, "I have all my best ideas in the shower, Christina!" And it is perfectly normal to have many of your good ideas in the shower.
But here's the thing about when we have our best ideas. We have really good ideas when we let our minds wander. We actually have much better ideas when our minds are wandering than we have when we are focusing. If you have 100% of your best ideas in the shower, this means that that is probably the only time of day when you are letting your mind wander. And the rest of the time you're focusing focusing, focusing, focusing. Focusing on your work, focusing on your smartphone, focusing on Netflix, and you're never giving your brain a little bit of a break to just be bored. And to- for your thoughts to roam.
Mind-wandering is so important so if you are having all of your best ideas in the shower, I bet it means you're not getting enough mind-wandering time and that you should be taking breaks throughout your day at other times other than when you're showering.
Okay, that was short and sweet. That was three surprising signs that you are not working at your best.
Did you spot the common theme? It has to do with making sure that you're taking enough breaks to work at your best. If you want to know more about why breaks are really, really important, and how they contribute to your brain working at its best, well, I have an online course called Tweak Your Week, which is all about how to make small changes to your working week in order to become more productive, while still having a life.
If you're interested learning more about that, just click the button below.