You might respond, “Hey, Brian. You’re an idiot. I don’t have time for a break because I need to be productive.”
Then I would respond, “Hey, I might be an idiot but I’m a well-read idiot and it’s proven that taking breaks improves your productivity and decreases procrastination.” In other words, you need to take a break if you’re going to maximize your time studying, writing, or working.
A study from the University of Illinois found that after a certain amount of time, your brain will lose focus and then your productivity will decrease. That is why taking time off from tasks is crucial to allow the brain to get re-energized and refocused.
Now that we have established taking a break is crucial to productivity, we are going to look at the best ways to take time off and go back to work with energy.
Ways To Make The Most Of Your Break
Nap. Everyone loves a good nap without a reason. When you add the bonus that a short nap (15-30 minutes) can increase your productivity, then naps only get better. However, don’t nap too long or you’ll risk waking up disoriented and unfocused.
Eat. Use food to refuel your mind and body for the next stretch of work. It’s important to pick the right food so you don’t feel sluggish. From my experience, foods that will give you energy include bananas and other fruits, greek yogurt, eggs, brown rice, and dark chocolate.
Drink water or coffee. Drinking water will decrease stress and give your body resources to replenish. Drinking coffee can provide instant energy and a rush of euphoria to run through any obstacle.
Go to the bathroom. Logically, refreshing yourself is a good way to spend some time off. Once you get back to work, you won’t be distracted by the thought of going to the bathroom.
Rest your eyes away from a digital screen. These other activities give your mind a break, yet your eyes also need rest. Get away from digital screens (phone, laptop, tv) and close your eyes as you daydream, envision your happiness after the work is done, or imagine your beautiful future.
Hang out with friends. Don’t look farther than other people if you want a solid break time. Being social and connecting with others is an easy way to feel restored.
Exercise. Working out is proven to increase your productivity and happiness. That’s why there might not be a better break activity than exercising. Also, don’t think that you have to spend 90-minutes at the gym. A short walk or run, a couple of minutes of abs, or push ups can do the trick to produce more energy for when you rejoin the task at hand.
Read. Depending on the activity you are doing, reading an enjoyable book can refresh you for your later work. However, if the task you’re doing requires significant reading, then I would advise against reading during your break time. Because part of the point in taking a break is to change the pace of your focus.
Listen to music. Research found that listening to music has the power to change how you feel. Take this information and listen to your favorite music during the time off. This will give you positive energy to transfer to your next task.
Go for a drive. This is another personal favorite of mine, especially at night. Driving allows me to relax and vent my thoughts and feelings in a healthy way. If you haven’t done it before, give it a try.
Readers, comment below on: Before reading this, did you take breaks when working or not? What break above seems like the best fit for you, why? Are there any other effective ways to relax that I’m missing?