How to manage hybrid working like a pro

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Healthy escapism: How to use creativity as an outlet

Read time: ±2:50 min.

Finding a creative outlet for your untapped talents and ideas could increase your productivity and help you gain new skills. It also offers escapism during particularly stressful periods of the pandemic. Learn more about the benefits of having a stimulating hobby and how to get started.

Escapism is when you engage in any activity that allows your mind to settle and pull you away from stress and negativity. Some kinds of escapism such as emotional eating and substance abuse are harmful, but there are healthy forms of creative release too.

These are usually in the form of projects such as painting, baking, writing and graphic design, which are beneficial beyond the mental release.

Here are 5 benefits of a creative project:

1. It widens your circle
Having a creative project could connect you to a new social network outside of your personal and professional circle. Widening your network has benefits such as helping you meet prospective mentors and improving your skill set by learning from others.

2. It sharpens your skill set
You’ll get a chance to develop new skills, which could mean you’re better equipped to take on new tasks at your current job or you’re better prepared for a new role at work.

3. It teaches you to be more efficient
As you don’t have every hour of the day to work, managing your creative project will teach you to get more quality work done in a shorter amount of time. This could help you learn to limit distractions, prioritise the important stuff and be more focused and efficient at work.

4. It boosts your mental health
According to MemorialCare, creative projects could boost your brain and mental health and help increase problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Being creative stimulates both the right and left sides of the brain. For instance, drawing could stimulate your hand-eye coordination, while dancing and playing an instrument could improve your memory.

5. It increases productivity
You decide your deadlines and direction, so you’ll need to employ your intrinsic motivation to keep going. Constantly keeping yourself motivated and being your own source of inspiration could result in higher levels of productivity, not only with your passion projects, but also in a professional capacity.

Good to know
Now that you know the benefits, you may be raring to go. However, check your company policies first. Some companies strictly advise against starting any profit-generating projects while you are in their employ. Make sure you read your contract, talk to your supervisor and check in with the HR manager to confirm you aren’t violating any company regulations.

Resources to get started:

  • Podcast: Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert is an interview series during which the author speaks to guests who have mastered the creative process.
  • App: Brainsparker is an app that provides daily prompts to ignite creativity.
  • Free course: Skillshare helps you find new passions or sharpen existing skills.
  • YouTube channel: TED Talks, also available as an app, are motivational talks from creatives, designed to inspire and motivate.

For more advice related to mental health, read these helpful articles:

For confidential assistance, contact Life EHS; SMS your name to 31581 and the Care Centre will call you back.

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a legal professional. E&OE.

References:


Mental health: Your rights

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Your leave explained

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Are you microbreaking enough at work?

Reading time: ±2 min.

Chatting with a co-worker, making a cup of coffee or putting in a load of washing may seem like procrastination, but it can be beneficial. Read our article to learn what microbreaking is, why it differs from procrastination and how to practise it effectively.

Being glued to your screen is not necessarily the best strategy for productivity, and taking a breather now and then can help you to bounce back from fatigue and disengagement during work.

Microbreaks are short intervals you take from work throughout the day. It could involve anything from standing up to stretch, doing some desk exercises, making a cup of coffee, chatting to a colleague or refilling your water bottle.

Microbreaks vs. procrastination

Microbreaks aren’t procrastination. The difference is that microbreaks can help you to recharge. And unlike procrastination, which can cause you to put off or avoid a task, microbreaks can help you to produce better work.

What’s more, a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology reveals that microbreaks can help workers to be more engaged and maintain their energy levels throughout a working day.

They’re so effective because they enable a process called ‘psychological detachment’, where you’re able to mentally disengage from work, allowing your brain to rest.

Microbreaks can also help you to:

Examples of microbreaks

Considering COVID-19 regulations, some good options for microbreaking during work include:

In-office

  • watching a short funny video
  • getting up to make or buy a cup of coffee
  • updating your diary with key events

Remote working

  • catching up with someone over text or video call
  • putting in a load of washing
  • stepping outside for some air

How to use microbreaks effectively

Schedule them. Add time to your daily calendar to take microbreaks. You can choose different times using phone alerts or an app such as Stretch Reminder to prompt you.

Take a break when you’re distracted. You won’t be truly productive if you aren’t focused. Whenever you’re feeling distracted, use it as your cue to take a microbreak. This could be as simple as stretching your legs.

Try the Pomodoro Technique, a time-management strategy where you work in blocks of 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. An app like Tide can help you with this.

Learn to normalise it. There’s no reason to feel guilty for taking microbreaks since they will help you work more effectively.

For more work-related advice, read these helpful articles:

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a professional. E&OE.

References:


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