Person Taking a Break After Working Remotely

How to take better breaks to be more productive

How to take better breaks to be more productive

Science backed methods to break more effectively

In the pursuit of maximizing productivity, it's crucial to recognize the transformative power of breaks. Contrary to common belief, taking breaks is not a hindrance but a strategic tool that, when wielded effectively, can significantly enhance overall efficiency.

In this guide, we delve into the art of taking better breaks, unveiling strategies backed by science to rejuvenate your mind, boost creativity, and ultimately pave the way for heightened productivity. Whether you're working remotely, managing a busy schedule, or simply aiming to optimize your workday, mastering the art of strategic breaks can be the key to unlocking your full professional potential.

Taking breaks are a neccessity and here we dive in the science behind productive breaks.

Why you shouldn't skip breaks at work

Navigating through work demands can be quite challenging, requiring a constant effort to resist various distractions in order to accomplish your to-do list.

While the inclination might be to power through breaks in an attempt to maintain productivity, studies reveal a counterintuitive truth: prolonged focus on a single task diminishes performance over time. Human concentration wanes after extended periods, with most employees experiencing only two hours and 53 minutes of true productivity within an eight-hour workday.

Beyond the decline in productivity associated with abstaining from breaks, there is an additional consequence: an increased burden of work-related stress that extends into one's personal life. Choosing to forgo breaks amplifies the mental strain carried beyond the workplace, emphasizing the imperative need for integrating regular breaks into the daily work routine.

Incorporating these pauses not only revitalizes productivity but also serves as a crucial mechanism for maintaining a healthier work-life balance and mitigating the adverse effects of prolonged stress.

Not Taking Break builds up fatigue

Constant decision-making, whether in crafting emails or strategizing social media launches, eventually induces decision fatigue. Once this threshold is reached, mental exhaustion sets in, leading to the likelihood of making errors simply due to weariness.

For instance, individuals facing sustained decision-making fatigue may find themselves opting for simpler choices as a result of mental exhaustion. Decision fatigue not only hampers the ability to make sound judgments but also brings one perilously close to experiencing overall fatigue.

Insufficient Psychological Separation from Work

Psychological detachment, a recognized concept, involves the crucial process of transitioning out of work mode to allow your mind and body to relax and recover from the stress of your job's demands.

Achieving this detachment requires physically distancing yourself from work-related thoughts and tasks. Without these necessary breaks throughout the day, the accumulated work stress can persist into your personal life, depriving you of the rest you need. Taking breaks enables your mind to disengage from work thoughts, providing it with the space to reflect and process information.

This recovery period serves as a valuable opportunity for your brain to bounce back from accumulating fatigue and opens avenues for creative problem-solving. Conversely, neglecting these breaks may lead to cognitive fatigue, causing your brain to struggle with decision-making and potentially hindering overall performance.

How to correctly take breaks from work

Optimizing your workday with strategic breaks offers numerous benefits, including preventing decision fatigue, boosting energy levels, enhancing attention and focus, fostering creativity, reinforcing memory, renewing motivation after stress, increasing daily productivity, reducing stress and anxiety, and providing the opportunity to step back and see the bigger picture.

You should see breaks as a positive decision, that boosts your effectiveness and maximizes your output.

Avoid Ineffective Break Habits

Not every break yields the desired psychological advantages.

Some breaks, including consuming caffeine, mindless snacking, engaging in online shopping, and venting to coworkers, can actually contribute to increased fatigue.

Even the instant gratification of using social media during breaks may hinder your ability to refocus on work. If these are the only break practices you're familiar with, there are some better alternatives.

What does a productive break really look like?

To correctly take a break from work, you need to make sure you're truly stress free. So no breaks that can induce stress or can increase cognitive fatigue.

Some examples of great activities to do on a break are:

  • Meditation

  • Socializing

  • Stretches

  • Walks

  • Daydreaming

  • Laughing

  • Browsing jobs

Remember to schedule your breaks as well to not forget!

There are multiple ways to schedule a break and there's no singular correct way. Some people recommend the Pomodoro Technique where one takes a break every 25 minutes with 5 minutes break. After 4 cycles they win a 30 minute break. However there is more than one way and sometimes your situation may call for a different technique. So be sure to research multiple ways and find the best fit for you.

We also recommend making sure each break has a clear goal or intention in mind. Any of the activities we listed above should be appropriate breaks, this way you avoid negative breaks and truly come back refreshed!

Are you on a quick break or have some spare time?

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