Have you been doing everything you could think of to boost your productivity at work but all your efforts are going in vain? Would you believe us if we told you that one simple thing you need to do to improve your efficiency is taking a break?
As funny as it may sound to you, breaks are more important for your productivity than you give them credit for. Humans have not evolved to work for long hours and dwelling in one task non-stop for extended hours can start to take a toll on one’s psyche and body.
Not taking breaks or perhaps enough of them could be the reason why even after arriving early at work and leaving late you are not able to achieve your daily targets. However, merely taking breaks will not always help you become a better employee. Almost everybody takes a break at work, but not everybody uses these to boost their productivity.
Do you want to become a better employee simply by using your breaks more efficiently and effectively? Then, here are some tips that will help you do the same:
#1. Plan Your Breaks
Breaks can be as important for meeting deadlines as working, so if you plan your work time, then why not your breaks? However, random breaks now and then throughout the day can do more harm than good. Therefore, you need to carefully plan how you are going to utilize breaks if you want these to increase your productivity. Several studies have suggested that 52 minutes of work followed by a 17-minute break is especially effective in keeping the productivity up, but this pattern significantly varies from individual to individual.
You can set reminders on your computer or alarms to remind you when it is time for you to get up from your desk. Also, you can take breaks between tasks so when you are working, the only thing on your mind is your work, and when you get back from break, you do not have to continue where you left off.
#2. Analyze Your Priorities And Do What Energizes You
Many times, we have so many responsibilities that we forget which one we need to carry out now and which one can be postponed for later. The first thing that you need to do is curate a list of all your responsibilities from the most important one to the least, identifying the areas that you haven’t been paying enough attention to. Once you have prepared the list as we told you to, you can start integrating those priorities that energize you into your schedule. For instance, if your family is your priority, then incorporate them somehow into your schedule and if growing in your career is, then go for something that helps you professionally.
#3. Take Nutrition
Believe it or not, but a quick bite could be everything you need to return to work with improved energy and enthusiasm. However, you need to be careful with what you eat. Junk food or chips and candy from the vending machine may provide you instant gratification, but the effects of it will not last long. Instead, opt for something nutritious like fruits and proteins that can provide you the long-term energy you need to get through the day.
#4. Plan For The Next Time
In the words of the famous motivational speaker and self-development author, Brian Tracy, 'every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution.’ So, we suggest you never underestimate the power of a good plan. It is okay if you haven’t got a clue about what you are going to do during a break you are taking. You can use it to contemplate what you are going to do the next time. There must be something that you needs taken care of; something that has been consistently bothering you in the back of your mind. Eradicating it from your to-do list will instantly free your mind to focus on other things.
If your idea of taking a break from work means to idly sit at your desk, staring at the wall or simply leaning back in the chair wondering why the day isn’t ending, then we would like you to reconsider your way of taking breaks. You are not being productive, and these breaks are not helping you refresh your mind either. The screen in front of you is what you need to escape. If you want a break from work, then take a real break. Forget about your work and indulge in something that makes you feel good. Because if your break is not making you feel refreshed, then this break is no use and you should rather continue working.
#6. Get Social
What is more refreshing during a hectic day at work than a short call with someone you love? It has been scientifically proven that merely talking to family or friends releases chemicals in the brain that improves mood and lowers our anxiety and stress levels. Therefore, a quick call to your partner, parents or best friend may be just what you need to refresh yourself.
Not sure if you have realized it yet or not, but we spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our family. So if you have co-workers at work with whom you get along, then a short conversation with them can do wonders for you. Medically speaking, being disconnected with people can take a toll on your psyche, which will affect more aspects of your life than just work.
#7. Get Your Blood Flowing
Sitting in one chair for hours at the end is equally bad for your body as not talking to anyone is bad for your psyche. And do you think you can work with the same effectiveness and efficiency with a deteriorating body? Just getting up from your chair and walking around is enough for your body to cope with sitting in a chair all day.
However, if possible, we suggest you to use your time, not just by walking around, but doing something that gets the adrenaline rush spinning through your veins. In this hectic life, who gets the time to work out and maintain a fitness regimen, right? So why not utilize small breaks at work caring for your health? Some walking around and stretching can help release dopamine and serotonin in your brain, neurotransmitters that improve mood and lower risk of health disorders.
#8. Do What Makes You Feel Good
The last thing that we would like to say is you do whatever makes you feel good. Your primary purpose in life should be to be happy and what is the meaning of anything if you can’t even enjoy what you love in your free time.
If you do something stressful during your leisure time, you are likely to return to work even more stressed than you already were. But if you do something that makes you feel good, it will instantly fill you with energy that you require to cope with the monotony and hassles of your work.
Whatever it is that you enjoy, whether it is watching videos on the internet, playing an online game or listening to songs, indulge in that during your breaks at work. Undoubtedly you will return happier to your work after it.
So, this is how to take a break from work like a pro. Taking a break is an art. If you fail at it, you might lag behind in your work, and if you succeed at it, you might just come out as the most productive employee at work.
The last thing that we would like to say before leaving you is that you should take a break even if you feel like you don’t need it or don’t have time for it. The work you will get done working 8 hours non-stop will most probably be less than what you will get done with a few refreshing breaks here and there.
Before you switch to another article, we would like you to spare a few seconds to tell us what you think about this post. Also, share with us how you think you can use your breaks at work to boost your productivity through the comment box below. We would love to read what you have to say.