COUNTDOWN TO MONDAY, are you doing it too?

by | Ann De Bisschop

Unfortunately, many people today are counting down to the weekend, tired and lifeless. Their energy is gone, they are not only physically but also mentally tired and they long for rest. However, it can be different. A number of small adjustments to your (working) day can have a huge impact on your energy level and your resilience.

I believe in a well-considered and pro-active approach: my “5G policy”: HEALTHY, HAPPY, MOTIVATED, INFORMED and TALENTED employees (in Dutch: GEZOND, GELUKKIG, GEMOTIVEERD, GEÏNFORMEERD en GETALENTEERD), that’s what we’re going for! We basically spend about 90,000 hours in our workplace during our lives, so we’d better feel good there. And it’s not just the company or organization you work for that plays a major role, you too can do a lot to start the new working week with more energy and enjoyment.


By focusing better, you will go through your (working) day with more resilience and less stress. We are all constantly multitasking, whether we realize it or not. Did you know that we check our emails on average 150 times a day? That we look at the screen of our phone 74 times a day – every 6 minutes approximately? How can you be focused then? Impossible …. We should try to get more into a “flow”, a time when we concentrate optimally and do not let ourselves be distracted by the many “jammers”, such as the many apps we have on our phone today, by push messages that pop up all the time. Every time you switch between tasks, you pay a switching cost: after a distraction, it takes 25 minutes before you are 100% concentrated again. When you multitask, you are up to 40% less productive.


A to-do list is useful because it brings structure to your day. But watch out for your “lazy” brain, because it will immediately go for the easy to-do’s, because they require little cognitive activity from you. Moreover, you get a pleasant dopamine kick every time you’ve been able to check something off your list. So you often spend your precious energy peak in the morning on small and easy tasks, just because you can check them off faster on your list. You postpone the priorities again and again, and because you are already too tired for it, you hardly get around to it that same day. And so the next day, this heavy task will be back on your list, and the day after that too … and this causes you stress. So use the moments where your brain is still fresh to tackle your difficult and strategic tasks. Once that task is done, happiness hormones are released and you will feel so much lighter.


Our brain is like a muscle. Just like you can’t flex your muscles for 8 hours, you also need to give your brain a rest from time to time. A 9-to-5 workday? Forget the idea that you have to or can perform for eight hours (or more), because you won’t succeed anyway. So take a ten-minute break every two hours to refill your energy tank. Also, don’t eat your sandwiches or salad at your desk because you “don’t have time to have lunch”. By getting away from your desk, you recharge yourself and also open the door for new, creative ideas. Your brain also needs that break to process information. Do not use Facebook or WhatsApp during the break, because then you will create more stimuli and the fatigue of your brain will continue. Get away from your devices, go outside, have a chat with a colleague (connectedness is an important energizer), read a magazine or go for a walk.