Fika, the Swedish Concept That Will Help You Increase Your Productivity at Work

Fika, o Conceito Sueco Que a Vai Ajudar a Aumentar a Sua Produtividade no Trabalho

Have you ever had trouble thinking while working, or simply forgotten what you were thinking about in the middle of a sentence you were writing? Don't worry, this happens very often, especially when we try to do more than one task at the same time.

There are those who argue that multitasking is a myth and that trying to do two things at the same time usually results in more errors and fewer successfully completed tasks. Instead of doing two things simultaneously, our brain is actually switching between the two functions and is unable to focus on either one.

“The concept of Fika is a state of mind that involves setting aside time every day to take a break, contemplate the simple aspects of life and recharge your energy.”

As a living organism, our brain is subject to natural biological limits that significantly benefit from frequent and conscious breaks in order to maximize its attentional resources.

This is where the Swedish concept of fika comes in, often translated as “a coffee and cake break” but actually being much more than that. It is a state of mind and an attitude – a ritual, if you like –, which involves setting aside time, every day, to take a break, contemplate the simple aspects of life and recharge your energy.

Various research reveals that this and other similar practices can reduce stress and unlock our capacity for productivity and innovation. Taking frequent breaks during work has been shown to improve focus and performance. Fewer working hours can increase performance, and quiet moments, together with inner reflection, positivity and distance from challenges can allow for fruitful insights and decisive moments to achieve success in the tasks carried out.

Focus your energy on one task at a time.

A study by the NeuroLeadership Institute concluded that thinking, problem solving and communication are strongly impacted by the active management of the brain's processors.

When you set a goal and focus solely on achieving it, you are likely to feel happier and more satisfied at the end of the day. Planning your day so that you can focus your energy on one task at a time may be the best way. Believe it or not, checking your emails only at a specific time – so you're not checking them intermittently – can be revolutionary. So, when you intentionally dedicate some time without distractions to respond to them, you can be sure that they will have your best attention.

The issue of emails is just an illustrative example, as the same type of attitude applies to everything else. When you give your full attention to one thing at a time, you can more easily enjoy a state of creative workflow.

Don't romanticize the constant hustle.

Believing that constant hustle and bustle is socially valued and that we always have to be doing something can be a counterproductive belief, which will easily leave you stressed, rushed and always five minutes late. As a result, you talk on the phone while driving, exchange emails while taking care of your children or finalize a proposal while finishing lunch. All of these behaviors are elements that prevent us from being fully present and giving our best, as we are directing our focus on several things at the same time. Dedicate it to one goal at a time and learn to breathe to savor the best in life.

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