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The importance of taking breaks at work

There's no denying that work can be demanding. But it's important to remember that taking breaks is crucial to our productivity and well-being. In this blog article, we'll look at the advantages of taking breaks at work and offer some suggestions for making the most of your time off from your computer. So whether you're looking to recharge your batteries or just enjoy a mental break, read on for some helpful advice!

Sid Leigh - Taking a break

Table of contents

Benefits of taking breaks while at work

Taking multiple breaks are suitable for both employee and employer. In the short term, it helps with reevaluations and refocusing. In the long term, it boosts team comradery, cuts burnout, and helps staff retention.

A chance to refocus and reevaluate

When we're constantly focused on a task, it's easy for our minds to wander. As the saying goes, we can't see the wood for the trees. Breaks also allow us to take stock of our progress so far, refocus our efforts and reevaluate what we've done and what we plan to do.

Creative boost

On the flip side of having a break to refocus, we can use a break to let our minds wander. Wander to new places and come up with new ideas.

When we're focusing on one task for an extended period, the cognitive processes involved become automatic. Unfortunately, this means that our brain isn't working as hard as possible, which lowers our creativity levels.

Go for a walk in the woods and find new trees to see.

Avoid burnout and work on mental health

With ever-growing demands from our jobs, it's no wonder that burnout is a growing problem. However, taking regular breaks can help prevent burnout and protect our mental health.

Taking a break is a release; it still helps with our mental health, whether temporary or not.

Team bonding

Taking breaks can also be a great way to bond with co-workers. Whether it's going out for lunch or taking a walk around the block, getting up and away from your desk can help break the ice and encourage collaboration.

Employee Engagement

Regular breaks are also known to boost employee engagement. This is because they create a sense of ownership and responsibility among employees as they feel like they are an essential part of the company. They also help employees stay fresh and focused, which improves their productivity.

How long should your breaks last, and how many should you take?

Time with break

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the length and number of breaks you take will depend on your work habits and preferences.

Work demands also play a part in how often and for how long you can take breaks.

I use the Pomodoro Technique, which I go into further detail below. But what that means is for a typical working day, I take between 6 and 9 short breaks, 2-3 long breaks, and they last up to 2 hours in total. And I've never felt more productive taking breaks like that.

Take smaller and regular breaks over one long break

Studies have shown that attentional spans drop over an extended period of work. It explains why so many people experience slumps towards the end of a day's work.

Try the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method specifically designed to help you focus. So what's the big proponent of this - taking a 5-minute break every 25 minutes or work.

You can read all about the Pomodoro Technique in this article. But the short version is to set a timer for you to focus at work - then take a 3-5 minute break. It'll refresh your brain and even stir some creative juices. Then go back to focused work. Rinse and repeat this pattern for 3-5 iterations and then take a longer break for about 15-20 minutes.

As I said, I use this particular method myself, and I've never felt so productive. In addition, the breaks allow me to reset so that I can churn through work for much longer stretches before burning out.

Tips for ensuring you take regular breaks

Happy Coffee

I'll mention the Pomodoro technique again here. But, again, taking regular breaks is literally baked into the method.

Saying that, it's not a technique that everyone can use or likes.

Here are some tips to help you take regular breaks:

  1. Use a timer to remind you to take breaks
  2. Take a break every hour, or every odd/even hour
  3. Schedule regular catch-up sessions with co-workers

Napping while you break

Napping at work0

You're asleep on the job!! It actually might not be a bad thing.

Researchers have found that napping during breaks can help improve productivity. For example, the study conducted by the University of California found that those who took a break to nap were more productive than those who didn't. In addition, napping improved performance on tests measuring vigilance and working memory.

So, if you're feeling tired at work, take a break to nap. It'll help improve your productivity in the long run.

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