Whilst hard at work, sometimes we forget that we are human beings. We try to squeeze hours out of the day to meet deadlines and obligations, completely ignoring certain principles of human biology that relate to performance. After all, we are biological beings, so there are certain principles that we need to observe if maximising our performance is something we aspire to.

In order to achieve high levels of performance consistently, we must not ignore a basic principle that will help us sustain our capacity to perform even in the midst of pressure: oscillation – the rhythmic movement between energy expenditure (stress) and renewal (recovery).

Experts in the field of biology recommend that our mind-body system need recovery every 90 to 120 minutes. So for instance, if you start working at 8am and don’t detach from your work until lunchtime, by 10am that morning, most likely your physical, mental and emotional capacity will start to diminish, affecting the output and quality of your work. It’s a fact of science.

I’m still shocked when I see executives scheduling working-lunches let alone the appalling working-breaks – how is that for an oxymoron! The key to high performance is breaking linearity – the failure to oscillate between energy expenditure and recovery. Rituals that prompt recovery at key points during the day will increase your levels of energy, concentration and motivation – guaranteed.


Remember that to maximise your level of performance, you must break linearity and promote oscillation. Consider these suggestions:

– Get away from your desk or go for a walk every 90 minutes. Don’t succumb to the temptation of taking your phone or tablet with you. Completely detach from your work and screen time for the space of 5 to 10 minutes – this will allow your mind-body system to recharge.

– Schedule your breaks as you would an important meeting. By scheduling your breaks, you are more likely to take them.

– Find a break partner. Socialising is a sure-fire way to refresh your brain, so enlist a work friend to have some tea, have a chat, or take a short walk with you.

– Meditate or do some chair yoga. Search the web for “chair yoga” and you will find very useful videos on how to relax from head to toe without getting out of your chair.

– Make the most of your lunch break. By all means, do not eat at your desk.