One of the best ways to improve productivity is to take a break during work hours. Taking breaks will enable you to be more creative and achieve more than you’d expect.
Staying productive can be a struggle when you’re working. Other people have problems focusing, and others experience burnout. These feelings are completely valid, especially with the outset of so many major world events.
Even though productivity is highly rewarded in society, taking a break is essential for improved productivity and personal well-being.
Why is it Important to Take Breaks During Work Hours?
Staying focused for a long time can make you mentally tired. When this happens, your productivity and performance get compromised because you’ll feel irritable and not as efficient as you were before. The best way to get over this feeling of demotivation and mood swings is to step away from it all and take a moment to reset.
Breaks help you regain focus by interrupting your work. Notice that you get bored when you do the same thing for long hours. The longer you stay in that situation, the more likely you’ll experience burnout or a dip in productivity.
By interrupting your work for a bit, you allow your brain to relax and recharge. Giving yourself time to rest can help you refuel the energy you can put into your work.
The Pomodoro technique encourages people to take little breaks throughout the workday for better productivity. This technique allows you to have a break every hour. The long version of it is you’ll get a 45-minute work time and the remaining 15 minutes is for a break. The short version allows you to work for 25 minutes and rest for 5 minutes.
These micro-breaks help you regain your focus. It serves as a more organized time management method to help keep your focus sharp for people who have trouble maintaining focus.
The Pomodoro technique is also another way to enforce discipline into your work habits. When you finally get to those 5- or 15-minutes breaks, it’s time to decide how you can truly maximize this time for rest.
The Best Ways to Take a Break
1. Move around
You might be staying at that desk for too long. It’s time to stand up and add several steps to your fitness band for the day. Moving around now and then while working wakes up your body and mind, especially when you’re working for long, sustained hours.
Studies have shown that exercise positively affects focus, memory, creativity, mood, and stress regulation. Overall, these benefits contribute to your productivity. The following are ways to sneak in a bit of exercise every day:
- Set aside 15-30 minutes in the morning for some exercise.
- Find an activity that you like—whether it’s dancing, walking your dog, yoga, etc.
- Get out of your desk and walk around the office or your home whenever you feel stuck.
2. Do some mindfulness activities
Mindfulness is about being present. People tend to be caught up in one task after another throughout the day. Your packed schedule makes you forget to be aware of yourself and everything else around you.
Through mindfulness, you can pause and take a look at yourself, listen to your thoughts, and feel your emotions. As a result, you can process these thoughts and emotions better. To do these, here are a few mindfulness activities
- Do breathing exercises
- Pause for a bit, drop whatever you’re doing, and be present
3. Do nothing
Society has seemed to condition humans to be productive all the time. That’s not a sustainable way to live. And it can affect your physical and mental health if you overwork your mind and body.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed, try to drop the task at hand and do nothing for a moment. Try lying down and staring at the ceiling. Let your mind wander. Sit somewhere and just do nothing. Don’t reach for your phone because it’s also a source of stimulation. Just let your brain rest and reset.
Research has found that boredom fosters creativity and can motivate the change we need. When you’re so bored, your brain, in a way, entertains itself. You might find yourself daydreaming and creating scenarios in your head. During this time, your creative juices may start flowing again.
While spending time with people in real life is still the best way to maximize the benefits of socialization, it’s important to make do with what’s available.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compromised everyone’s manner of socializing, but social media has made things easier. If you can’t hang out by the water cooler or stay for hours at a coffee shop, you can chat with a friend or start a video call.
A study found that “by increasing the sense of sociability among personnel, their commitment to the organization would increase, the level of job satisfaction would raise, and finally their productivity lifts.” Therefore, finding ways to be sociable at work during break time could help you get more work done.
5. Find something else to do that is unrelated to your work
A good way to alleviate stress is to have a way to express yourself. Aside from doing work-related activities, consider trying out activities where you let out your emotions or your creative side take over.
Self-expression can help you process emotions, including stress. As a result, you’re able to cope better. You can try painting or journaling to help you relax and rid yourself of stress.
6. Don’t take a break in your workspace
It’s tempting because you can simply watch videos on your computer or scroll through social media on your office chair. However, this can be counterproductive. Especially when you’re working from home, you need to separate work from your home life. You need to train your brain that your workspace is for working during office hours.
So, eat your snacks somewhere else in the office or house. For improved productivity, get out of your chair when you take a break. This way, you can condition yourself that it’s time to be productive when you sit on that chair. When you’re not in it, it’s time to take a break.
Things You Need in Your Home Office for Better Productivity
Staying comfortable in your home office is essential to staying productive during the workday. The right workspace setup minimizes distractions while taking care of your body.
Ergonomics is an essential factor in your workspace. When things are at the right height, at the right angle, and in the right position, by considering this, you can avoid body pains and future problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and back problems.
1. Laptop stand or monitor stand
Your laptop or monitor screen should be at eye level when you’re working, and your back should be straight. Additionally, your feet should be flat on the floor and your arms at a comfortable 90-degree angle when you’re sitting down and typing.
Elevating your screen addresses eye strain and back problems. Using a laptop or a monitor stand brings the screen to an appropriate level. Consider buying adjustable ones so that you can set them to your liking.
2. Ergonomic keyboard and mouse
Now that your laptop is elevated, typing may not be as comfortable for some, especially for those using a laptop. Because of this, a separate keyboard and mouse can come in handy.
There are a lot of keyboards available in the market today, and most of them are ergonomic. To make this setup healthier for your wrist, get yourself a wrist rest too. Some mousepads come with a built-in wrist rest. The same applies to your mouse.
An alternative to this is a folded towel. Fold a towel to a comfortable height for your keyboard and mouse and place it where you’d place a normal wrist rest.
3. A comfortable office chair
You’ll be sitting at your desk for most of the day. It’s only right that you get yourself a comfortable office chair to help with your posture and keep you comfortable while working.
Ergonomic chairs are built to be good for your back and neck. They also promote good posture, so you’ll avoid back pain. Some chairs can also be adjusted to the height that best fits you. This way, you can achieve the best posture while working.
4. Good lighting
Sometimes, good lighting is the key to productivity. Lighting is another signal to the brain. When choosing bright, fluorescent lighting, make sure not to make it too bright, as it can cause headaches and migraines.
Dim lighting, on the other hand, can cause you to become sleepy. It also strains the eyes, especially when you’re reading at night. Avoid dim lighting and opt for bright light if you’re trying to be productive.
It’s Time to Take a Break!
Taking a break is part of staying productive. It might seem ironic, but it’s true. When you feel like you need a break, move around, socialize, breathe, find something else to do, or do nothing at all—find whichever works for you, and don’t be afraid to take a much-needed break. All these are forms of rest, and they can help you regain focus and productivity.
Photo by Edmond Dantès from Pexels.