Want to Be More Productive? Take a Break!
How often do you get stuck in the middle of something especially when the to-do-list keeps growing? You need only a minute of your precious time to fix this once and for all. Interested?
Most techniques for increasing productivity are too complex or require time to learn how to apply them in your life. But there are also other ways to stay productive throughout the whole day, turning to which will take you no more than a minute. One of my favorite so far may sound paradoxical: take regular breaks from work.
When you are regularly distracted by something, you get a feeling that you are not effective enough, because at this time you are not working. But breaks help to a lot in getting work done, because they help restore energy reserves, re-focus, come up with more creative solutions, and rethink your objectives or the overall approach to work.
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A few words about feeling guilty
The sense of guilt often urges us to act and motivates to work, despite the weariness and exhaustion. When we are busy, we emphasize productive capacity and avoid guilty conscience. However, the ultimate productivity is not how much we have done but what we have achieved. Breaks permit you to be more energetic and improve your biorhythms. Especially if you are involved in some intellectual activity: the result of your effort is directly proportional to the energy and concentration that you invest in it. It means that the time you spend on breaks pays off completely if, of course, you do not mess around all the day long.
What is the most favorable time for a break? Fortunately, science has the answer: Morning.
Our energy fluctuates throughout the day, same ups and downs our organism is exposed during our downtime. Sleep takes 90-minute cycles, and each cycle is the phase of deep, light, and rapid eye movement sleep. An analogical tempo is coming during the day: scientists have discovered that in the morning our body is experiencing a 90-minute period of cheerfulness, as opposed to 20-30 minute period of drowsiness. You can put this natural rhythm to your benefit: work for 90 minutes and then take a break at least for 20 minutes, especially when you lack energy and enthusiasm.
Engage the method called “Pomodoro”
Day’s and night’s biological rhythms are normalized, but energy stocks run out quickly if you do not take regular breaks. Therefore, in the afternoon, the “Pomodoro” method works best.
The method is plain but very effective: you’re working on something for 25 minutes, and then make a break for 5 minutes. Repeat it three times. After the fourth time, you need to make a longer break – 25 minutes or more. This method is effective because it helps concentrate on one object and prompts to take breaks in order to update and reload your bio reservoir.
The DeskTime Company, whose application tracks how people use computers, recently discovered an interesting fact: 10% of the most productive employees in the average take a 17-minute break after every 52 minutes. Of course, we all tick differently, and making a break for 17 minutes every 52 minutes may not work for everyone. But generally speaking, this is a good indication of how often you should be distracted from work.
To sum it up, in order to perform any task, you need to assign short time-frames to plan breaks. Besides, regular breaks improve the quality of your daily life.