The Benefits of Taking Breaks

Taking regular breaks can be beneficial for our wellbeing and for our productivity. However, we tend to ignore them once we have started with our work and are eager to get our task done. There is a common misconception that by working more and longer hours, we can accomplish more. It is especially common to skip our breaks when a deadline is approaching and the pressure raises. Yet it is exactly in these situations, when we and our work would profit the most from taking some breaks.

Reduce the stress

Even when the stress level is high, a five minute break can do you and your productivity a lot of good. Briefly disengaging from your task at hand, closing the eyes, standing up and stretching can reduce your stress level and release some tension. By notifying you to take your break, Focus can help you not forget these helpful recovery time-outs in the midst of the storm.

Finish your thought

Often, the break notification might interrupt you in the middle of your work. It can be helpful to extend your current session by 5 minutes, using those extra minutes to finish your thought and leave your desk at a good point where you can easily pick up after the short break. 

Relaxing your brain renews creativity

Maybe you have experienced this as well: the best ideas or solutions to a tricky problem pop up when you walk a bit, look out of the window or wait at the coffee machine. When your brain shifts from high gear to a calmer state, it can have a different or new view of your task once you come back to it.

What to do during breaks

Think about what helps you relax. Everybody has different needs; there is not one special thing everybody does to help them relax. Here are some ideas that you could try during your 5 minute break: shortly leaving your workplace or closing the eyes, standing up and do some stretches or do one or two exercises to avoid back pain, opening the window and take in some fresh air, fetching some water or coffee or chatting briefly with a colleague.

What not to do during breaks

If you spent your work time in front of a screen, it will be beneficial not to look at another one (i.e. your phone) during your five minute break. Give your eyes some time to relax and avoid stimulating your brain with other input. And avoid getting into procrastinating activities, because you want to get back to your work shortly.

We are not machines

As human beings, we cannot keep up the same level of productivity every hour of every day. By identifying our most productive times and going with the flow, we can get the most important work done during these times. By being really productive for some intervals of time when your mental energy is highest, you can get a lot of work done. Spend your less productive times on tasks of lesser priority. Or if you are free to do so, knowing that you have accomplished a lot by working truly focused, you could spend this less productive time enjoying other parts of your life.