taking a breakDo you find that you have issues with getting things done? Taking a break sounds counterproductive, right? It may seem that way but there have been scientific studies conducted over time on this subject.

Researchers found that taking a break, actually frequent breaks, can increase productivity. A break is a pause in your work with the intent of going back to what you were doing after a short period of time.  It takes your mind off of a task to refresh your brain.

There are different schools of thought as to how long to work before taking a break, and also what constitutes a short break. This may be different for everyone, so finding that sweet spot is key.

However, sometimes taking a break doesn’t make sense, like when you’re in the zone. We’ve all been there at some point.  When you’re in the zone, you’re seriously concentrating on a task, so you don’t want to break your focus for fear of losing the momentum.

One article I read mentions that research shows, that taking a 15-minute break after working for about 50 minutes to an hour, is ideal for maximum productivity.

Another popular time management method is the Pomodoro Technique. According to Wikipedia, this method uses a timer to break work into 25-minute intervals with a short break in between sessions.

There are multiple benefits for taking a break besides increased productivity. Some of these benefits include physical and mental health, restores memory, and improves creativity and learning.

There are good types of breaks, as well as not-so-good types of breaks.  The idea is to give your brain a break by switching activity to another area. Checking email, watching YouTube videos or returning phone calls are good examples of not-so-good breaks. Getting away from your desk, and from the task at hand is a good way to take a break.

The suggestions below provide ideas for taking a break that will give the prefrontal cortex part of your brain the much-needed break it deserves, so you can get things done.

  • Take a walk outside and get a breath of fresh air
  • Do some deep breathing exercises
  • Eat a healthy snack
  • Chat with a friend or co-worker
  • Meditate
  • Have a cup of coffee or tea