What does your break mean to you? Do you use the time to take a little nap or do you work right through it? What about mental breaks? Breaks are a valuable time to refuel mentally and physically. Breaks are not just the time you spend away from your desk eating an energy bar. There are also breaks you take in between tasks. Taking even a 30-second break can increase productivity by 13 percent.
Depending on the guidelines established by your workplace, you may be able to split up your official breaks based on your needs. Instead of taking two 15-minute breaks, you may find that you do better with three 10-minute breaks. No matter the amount of time you have to take your break, you can make the time productive.
Trying to sit and concentrate on your work for four hours straight before taking a moment even to stretch is not realistic. People that try to do this end up being less productive overall, because their mind is more likely to wander and lose focus. Experts suggest creating a schedule for yourself of working straight for a specific time, like 25 minutes, and then taking a break for about five minutes. A 50/10 split is also a favorite schedule. Pick one that works best for your mental abilities.
What to do during a five or ten-minute break depends on your needs. Some people prefer to take multiple shorter breaks so they can fit in a quick read or a longer break to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee. Here is a breakdown of the types of things you can do during your breaks depending on their length.
- Eat a healthy snack like a handful of grapes, an energy bar, or a side salad.
- Read that article about golf or new hair treatment that you have wanted to look at.
- Try to solve a Rubik’s cube, Sudoku puzzle, crossword puzzle, or another mental test.
- Give yourself a massage on the hands or neck.
- Tidy up your desk, purse, briefcase, etc.
- Make a run to the break room for some coffee.
- Watch an inspirational TED talk.
- Go for a walk outside in the fresh air and sunlight.
- Take a moment to go someplace private and call a loved one.
- Take a break with a friend.
- Listen to a podcast.
- Play a card game or other game with coworkers.
- Get lunch with a friend.
- Schedule a 20-minute massage.
- People watch at a café or outside while enjoying a coffee, smoothie, or another treat.
To learn more about being more productive, read these articles:
- Turn Your Smartphone into a Productive Phone
- 5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Day
- Organizational Tips from 7 Successful People
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