Productivity Tip #29: Take Real Breaks Throughout Your Day

Some people can work 8 hours in a row and still be productive, but most of us can’t. We get mentally and physically tired, which affects how well and how fast we are able to get something done. As much as we would like to be robots, we are not. It’s important to take breaks to recharge and get back to things.

Seneca quote

Why Take Breaks?

It makes you more productive. Bottom line. When you realize that, taking breaks will come easier. You will want to get away and do something different for a few minutes because you will know that when you get back to doing what you are doing, you are going to be so productive it will be awesome.

A break can help you:

  • Take in information better and improve the retention of that information, which is why study breaks are so important!
  • Make better decisions as it wards off decision fatigue.
  • Boost creativity by energizing your mental resources.
  • Keep your motivation high.
  • Clear out self-doubt that often comes from overthinking about one thing for too long.

Take A Real Break

As someone who works online, a break can mean checking in on social media or watching a YouTube video, but that doesn’t really recharge me the way it should. Often if I get up and clean, take a walk, play with my dogs, or just sit out back and stare at the sky, I am able to get back to work with real focus and be productive.

When I’m at my mother-in-law’s, a break is getting away from her completely and having some time to breathe and remind myself that she’s mean and sad, and I don’t need to play her games. In other words, a break means physically removing myself from her energy and taking some time to recharge mine.

The idea is to switch brain activity to another area. So don’t do more of the same if you want to give your brain a real break.

That is something to remember when you have a lot to get done. If you are unable to go lay around and daydream for a while, switching tasks may help you give your brain the break it needs.

Here are some research-backed break ideas you may want to try out.

What’s The Perfect Break Time?

I’ve learned that there is no perfect anything for anyone. We all have a different rhythm when it comes to life and some of us do well in one way while others do well in another way. So the biggest tip you can get is to listen to your own body’s cues and take a break when it tells you to.

That said, one study done by the Draugiem Group, found that the perfect time to work was 52 minutes followed by a 17-minute break. I read this on a few different articles about productivity, but I couldn’t find the exact study. Regardless, I tried it out and it was amazing at how much more productive I was. I’m not sure if it was a mental thing where I believed it should work or an exact science, but it worked and I’ve kept it up.

The only time I don’t take a break is when I am in a state of flow. I know I am in this state when my energy is high, I’m fully able to focus and retain information, and I’m feeling really good about what I’m doing.

But, depending on what is going on in my life and happening around me, that state of flow can be rare throughout the month. So breaks are often in order!

Try it for yourself, even if you have to force yourself to take a break. If you have the mentality that breaks are bad and will ruin your productivity, you really need to experience it for yourself in order to change that belief, so at least give the 52 minutes on and 17 minutes off a fair try.

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