There are myriad benefits to taking breaks in the workplace, especially in the creative field. Breaks allow your mind to reset so you can return to work with a fresh mindset and often a new perspective. However, it’s still important to take breaks in an effective way, rather than simply procrastinating or wasting time. Here are some ways you can effectively manage your breaks to maximize your productivity.
How To Effectively Manage Your Breaks
Rests may seem counterproductive since they take you away from your work and halt your
focus. However, effective breaks improve your stress levels, give you more energy, and improve your focus and concentration. Here are some of the ways you can maximize your work breaks.
1. Take a Nap
Listen to what your body is telling you. If you’re stiff from sitting for too long, get up and move around. You must take care of your primary needs to perform at your best. You cannot function at max capacity with no rest without facing repercussions.
A power nap can be an excellent way to spend a break that refuels and resets your body,
allowing you to refresh your energy. Restoring your mindset can significantly impact your
productivity and how you approach projects. Rests give you those moments you need to step back, reevaluate your tasks and improve them.
2. Use a Timer
You may need brain food to generate new ideas and think outside the box, so take a break and make a healthy snack. Ensure you’re resting at the optimal times so you don’t interrupt your workflow and minimize your productivity. Using timers can keep your breaks on track and help you reduce distractions. Scheduling breaks is an effective way to take your attention off a task and give you the mental strength to concentrate when you return to work. If you can, plan to take breaks after a meal or when you’re at a mental low.
3. Move Your Body
Moving has myriad benefits for your mind and body. Physical activity can clear brain fog and boost your productivity and your mood. When you exercise consistently, you can improve your focus, sharpen your memory and enhance your creativity. Join an exercise class like dance or yoga virtually or find one near you, go for a jog or hit the gym.
Taking five minutes to an hour can allow you to reflect and understand your challenges and offer an alternate method or approach. Try taking a walk during lunch for a quick vitamin D boost or meditating for a few minutes to calm your brain before diving into a new project. Movement can help you rejuvenate, so consider taking a short walk or stretching before returning to a task.
4. Plan Your Timing Right
The difference between a break and procrastination is often timing. If you’re facing a deadline and find yourself scrolling on social media, that’s not the kind of break you need. Instead, plan the timing of your breaks wisely.
Take a break after you complete a task, not in the middle of it. If you stop a project mid-thought, it will be harder to pick up where you left off. Use breaktime as a reward for finishing a project, and it will help energize you before diving into your next one.
You can also optimize your breaks by scheduling them for low-energy times of day. If you
always feel an afternoon slump around 2 p.m., then plan a break to go get a coffee or step
outside. Save your energy for the times of day when you feel most focused.
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Why Breaks are Essential
Breaks can reduce stress levels, which boosts your productivity and improves your
performance. Work can be overwhelming, with many tasks to complete, decisions to make and deadlines to meet. When you’re stressed, your mental energy drains and you can find it much more challenging to stay on track. Breaks alleviate stress levels and fatigue and are vital to your creativity. Explore a few other ways breaks can help.
1. Help You Make Better Decisions
Decision fatigue happens when you run low on mental energy, causing your cognitive resources to decline. When you’re mentally exhausted, making simple decisions can seem daunting. Likely, you’ll opt for the most straightforward decision when you’re mentally drained, which is often not in your best interest. Building a routine and taking breaks can minimize decision fatigue and help you make better choices.
2. Fuel Your Creativity
Focusing on tasks for long periods can take a toll on your creativity and productivity. Breaks offer an opportunity to step away from the job and generate new ideas — a fresh perspective is sometimes all it takes to get your creative juices flowing. Journaling is an excellent way to spend your break and express yourself creatively. You can take a few minutes to write about your day or log your progress on current goals to switch gears and return to your work project with a fresh outlook.
3. Improve Your Focus
Similar to how breaks can improve your productivity, creativity and decision-making, they can also improve your concentration and focus. Long work hours can lead to stress and burnout. The longer you work on a project, the harder it is to maintain focus and stay creative and productive. Mental breaks are essential, as they can restore your focus and motivation.
Productive Breaks for Your Workflow
Breaks are essential to your workflow in any career, especially in the creative field. Creative jobs require excellent mental stamina and self-discipline to perform and express yourself. Rests offer moments of reflection, rest and recovery to tackle daily challenges, keeping your mental and physical game strong.
Author Bio: Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist, where she writes about life, adventure, and wellness. Follow Cora on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.