Day after day, we strive to keep productivity levels high so that we can accomplish more. There have been numerous debates as to what really works to keep that work ethic pumping, but the best option may be easier than we thought.
And what might that be? Simply taking a little break.
So, let’s take a look at why breaks are a good idea, and how you can spend your breaks so that you can work smarter and boost your productivity.
Why You Need a Break
For some, the thought of taking a break just seems like a big waste of time since you could use that time to actually accomplish something work-related. However, the opposite is actually true since it has been shown that breaks increase focus and productivity.
When you are constantly stimulating your brain with work tasks, you are using immense amounts of energy. After a while, you start to become fatigued and in turn your cognitive output becomes to suffer.
By simply taking a short break, you will able to boost your ability to focus once you return to your tasks, which will allow you accomplish more and increase productivity. Just think about how much more efficiently you’ll be able to work since you won’t feel mentally drained.
Try employing a schedule for your breaks throughout the day. An easy way to do this is by working for about an hour, then taking a 10 minute break to recharge. Factor your lunch break into your day, as well, since you’ll need to refuel with food to prevent sluggishness.
But what exactly should you do during this time? Instead of just closing your eyes and doing nothing when you decide to take a break, try something a bit different to distract yourself.
Note: these are meant for entrepreneurs, but if you work for a boss, it’s always good to ask first before you do things like “take a power nap!”
How to Spend Your Break
- Go for a coffee run. Grabbing a cup of coffee is a perfect way to spend a break. You can either make it yourself or head out to your local café for a change of scenery. Don’t like coffee? Then try some tea instead.
Just make sure that whatever beverage you choose contains caffeine, since that is what helps to perk you up. Plus, caffeine enhances productivity and makes you more alert.
- Take a power nap. So many of us suffer from lack of sleep and it starts to take a toll on our bodies after a while. We lose energy and our minds become foggy, which is no way to boost productivity levels.
Dr.Snooze suggests utilizing your break as an opportunity to take a nap in order to reenergize. Power naps increase productivity, as well as creativity, so they are a good option when you have 15-20 minutes to step away from your work. Just make sure you have a good alarm.
- Engage in a sweat session. Exercise is excellent in terms of improving physical fitness and mental clarity. Plus, you can personalize your workout to incorporate what you enjoy doing.
When your next break rolls around, try going for a brisk walk, engage in a calming yoga session, or if you are feeling ambitious, fit in a quick HIIT workout. As long as you are up and moving, the possibilities are endless.
- Socialize with your friends. Even if you work from home or own your own business, you can still socialize with your friends. Take one of your shorter breaks as an opportunity to catch up with someone on the phone, or even send a few texts.
Non-work related conversations are a good distraction, and once you return from your break you won’t feel like you spent your downtime focusing only on what work you still have to do.
- Organize your office space. A cluttered workspace can cause you to become overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed. You also waste a lot of time during the day if you are always looking for something that you misplaced.
So, use your productivity boosting break to clean up your office or desk. Organize your files, get rid of clutter, and disinfect surfaces to eliminate germs. After, you’ll be able to work more efficiently, thus increasing productivity.
- Catch up on your reading. Sometimes we become so focused on scanning documents and emails at work, that we forget to keep up with our personal reading list. Take a mental break from your workload by reading a few chapters of that book you’ve been waiting to start. If you keep up with this practice every day, you’ll be able to finish it in no time at all. You could also read productivity books during your break to maximize your time and get some great ideas for what to do when you get back to work.
Pencil it in
As you can see, breaks are very beneficial when it comes to increasing productivity, so don’t forget to take them. If you think they might slip your mind, write them into your schedule so that you can take the time to step back, clear your mind and return to your workload energized and ready to put your best foot forward.