We live in a hustle-to-the-max world that requires us to be productive 100% of the time, so taking a break from work is hard to justify for many professionals. However, this style of working is not sustainable, at least not in the long run. The human body is not made to work all the time, especially not at 100% capacity. Breaks are a necessary part of every successful person’s routines, but not all breaks are created equal. If you want to maximize your downtime, here are a few tips for taking effective breaks during your workday.
Take a break every 52 minutes
While some apps recommend working in shorter bursts of 25 minutes, the latest research states that working 52 minutes at a time with 17-minute breaks is the most effective strategy. Top 10% of productive workers on average use this type of work/break routine, so you might try it out as well and see the results.
Distract your brain
Many of us have a hard time switching off from work mode even during breaks. While we might think that this focus is good for productivity, it actually makes us less focused over time. Instead of thinking about work all the time, it’s best to distract your brain with other tasks so we can come back with a fresh mind and new perspective. One way to distract your brain is to overload it with multitasking. This might seem paradoxical, but adding more work-unrelated tasks to your day will help you take your mind off work for some time.
Most workers need to stay in stuffy offices, coworking spaces or cafes all day to get things done, but escaping those spaces even for a few minutes can have a lot of benefits for productivity and relaxation. Spending time in nature can reduce mental fatigue and help restore the brain. And if you can get some direct sunlight on your skin, it can also boost productivity and even improve your sleep schedule.
Take a stimulant
Most office workers rely on coffee to keep them awake and productive and that’s not such a bad idea. Caffeine, a compound found in coffee, is a stimulant that stimulates the nervous system and helps restore alertness. If you take moderate coffee breaks, you can get all the benefits without jitters and an increase in heart rate. Many people also use tobacco as a stimulant, but that habit is very bad and hard to quit. If your smoke breaks are great for your productivity, you can replace your tobacco with a practical puff bar alternative for a tobacco-free vape experience. A few hits will give you time to unwind, relax and enjoy some time away from work that will invigorate you.
Fuel your body the right way
In many cases, we take breaks from work to take care of that rumbling in our stomachs. While fueling your body is necessary, choosing the wrong foods or drinks can make us even more tired than before. In order to keep your brain working at 100% capacity, choose snacks on your break that are high in protein. Think a small serving of chicken, beef or fish, some nuts and seeds or a protein shake. Also, try to keep your portions small to avoid post-meal sleepiness.
Take care of your eyes
Our eyes do a lot of work every day, especially if you’re doing an office job. On average, office workers spend between 6 and 9 hours on digital devices, some even keep their eyes on screens for 10+ hours a day! It’s not a surprise that our eyes start to feel the strain after a few hours of such hard work, so it might be smart to include some eye exercises into your regular work breaks. One easy exercise is called 20-20-20 and it requires you to look away from your computer every 20 minutes and spend at least 20 seconds looking at an item 20 feet away.
No matter what they look like, breaks from work are crucial, but if you want to make them truly effective, adopt some of the aforementioned break tips and you will give your mind and body a boost necessary for top performance.