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6.1 Topic Sheet - resilience

Up to 6. Personal productivity
June 15. 2016
Robert Varnam

Resilience is an important personal attribute that can have a wide-ranging influence on your wellbeing and performance at work.

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September 06. 2016
Robert Varnam

Most clinicians in general practice have so much to do, it's become normal to try to improve our productivity through cutting out breaks. Many GPs almost never stop work in the middle of the day, because of the pressure to be more and more productive.

A growing body of research about productivity and rest suggests this is counterproductive - that we might achieve more if we genuinely stopped to rest our mind more often during the day. There's a great summary here: http://99u.com/articles/54325/a-science-backed-guide-to-taking-truly-restful-breaks 

There appear to be three key principles emerging from the literature:

1. Fully switch off

Reading websites taxes many of the same mental processes that we use when we’re working.

2. Take short breaks early and often

If you deprive yourself of many breaks, when you do finally take one, it’s going to be need to be longer to have any beneficial effect.

3. Get out of the office

Staff who did any work-related activities at lunch were rated as more fatigued by their colleagues at the end of the day.

For most of us, adopting some new rest habits would take considerable discipline - perhaps one for the whole team to try together?

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