Habits Productivity

5 Reasons Why You Should Take Short Breaks at Work

By Jennifer Max on 24 February 2020

The most important thing for any working individual is to maintain maximum productivity while working.

To remain productive, you can’t keep working for endless hours. You need breaks.

The benefits of breaks go beyond just resting your body and mind. You can make the best of your breaks in a way that boosts your productivity.

Remember that either you are working or on a break, time keeps moving. This is why it’s important to know how to manage your breaks to maximize the benefits.

This article gives you five reasons why you should take short breaks at work, and also gives you tips on how to use these short breaks in an effective manner.

 

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Here are 5 reasons why short breaks are necessary:

Increases your creativity

When I say “taking a short break increases your creativity”, it doesn’t literally mean that you suddenly get more creative.

Stopping work and taking breaks for 5 or 10 minutes doesn’t suddenly fill your brain with new ideas. However, if you’re working on something that requires creativity, it’s quite easy to get used to one’s perspective of seeing things.

At times, some details that need attention may escape your notice, especially if you’ve been on the task for a while. So, how does a short break-fix this?

When you take that short time to look away or direct your focus away from the task, your brain gets refreshed.

This happens in such a way that by the time you get back from the short break, you may be seeing things with a fresh perspective and your brain starts to see things in a creative way.

When you are back to work from your break, your brain focuses on the task with new enthusiasm. If you notice any issues address it immediately before you get used to it again.

It gives you a chance to build rapport with colleagues

If you work together with other people, you can take advantage of breaks to get to know those people better.

It helps to create a healthier working environment. Also, work becomes easier when you’re in sync with your colleagues.

Even if you’re not working on the same tasks, knowing that you’re not alone in getting things done is a psychological encouragement on its own.

Additionally, when you build a healthy working relationship with your colleagues, it becomes easier to ask for favors when you need them.

Someone will be more willing to go out of their way to help you when there’s a healthy relationship already.

Some light chat with someone in your office can go a long way. If you enjoy your colleague’s company, you could have lunch together with them during those breaks. However, if you don’t really like talking, a 2-minute chat with a colleague will do.

It keeps you healthy

You can spend your breaks doing some physical exercise. You can choose to either take a walk or do some stretches. Physical exercise while on break refreshes you both physically and psychologically.

If your work requires you to sit for long stretches, it can have an adverse effect on your body in the long term. This is usually the case even if you observe the right posture while sitting.

Maintaining a single posture for long hours puts pressure on some joints and muscles while others remain largely unused.

If you’re in this category, it is best that you take walks during your break.

This means that your break should not include sitting to watch a movie or play a game; you need to get your butt off that chair and move around. It also helps in the proper blood circulation.

Increases your ability to focus for long time periods

It’s not very easy to maintain maximum focus on a single task for long periods. The amount of time spent on a task before concentration starts to fade varies from person to person.

While some people can stay focused for up to an hour, others struggle to get beyond 30 minutes. When you take breaks, it’s a way of pressing the “reset” button in your mind.

If you can only stay focused on a task for 30 minutes, taking a five-minute break after 25 minutes will help reset your focus when you resume.

I’ll advise that you spend that break detached from the task completely. A good way of detaching from your immediate work environment is listening to music with the earbuds that will isolate the noise.

It takes you out of the environment without you needing to leave the room. Your short break should be enough to listen to one or two songs from your favorite playlist.

After 5-7 minutes, you’re good to go again. This method works well if you need instant continuity. The break is long enough to keep you refreshed and not lose track when you resume the task.

It helps you to achieve your goals

3D graphics image by Quince Creative

Taking intermittent breaks can help you reach your goals faster. I know it sounds contradictory, saying that you finish something faster when you have stops in between.

However, the truth is that breaks help you to recalibrate and access your process so far.

Sometimes, we forget ourselves in the task that we don’t see that our methods are not working. In such times, what you need is a break to step back and see things from a fresh perspective.

You will not achieve much by moving fast in the wrong direction.

Taking a pause every now and then helps you review the direction your task is going, and make adjustments when necessary.

Conclusion

One more thing: if you work from home, you must have measures that will keep you disciplined so that your 5 minutes break does not become 5 hours of NetFlix and chill.

No human can be productive while working for long stretches without taking breaks.

Even machines burnout after working for so long without breaks. By now, I believe that you’ve learned how to make the best use of your breaks, either long or short. Stay productive!

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