Do you sometimes find yourself working and working but you find it hard to focus and actually get anything done? Is your productivity suffering as a result of this? You might be considering changing careers or even seeing a doctor, but the solution may be much more simple than that – just take a break. Believe it or not, taking short ten minute breaks throughout the day can actually help you refocus and re energize and thereby help to increase productivity once you get back to work.
Scientists and psychologists have actually done many studies that show how effective breaks can be in helping to increase employee productivity. In fact, many large businesses have now started adopting break times into the course of the regular day. Employees are actually paid to sit at their desk and read, research topics they enjoy on the Internet, and do other things that interest them. It’s been shown that allowing these breaks actually increases productivity and employee satisfaction enough to compensate for the lost time plus some.(Wow, wish my previous employers had read this!)
To get the most good out of your breaks, try making your activities something that will help increase production when you return to work, rather than something that simply distracts you. Some great options include aerobic activity or relaxation exercises – take a walk or hit the gym (if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby). These activities will help clear your mind, while producing chemicals in your body that will boost concentration when you get back to work.
If physical exercise isn’t your thing, or you just don’t have the chance to do it at work, there are other things you can do to relax and clear your mind so you can get back to work. Meditation or other breathing exercises only take a few minutes, but can help you feel better mentally and physically. Not only does it help you focus, it can also lower your blood pressure and help reduce the physical signs of stress.
The biggest danger in taking breaks is not getting back to work when the break is done. A lot of people will try to skip breaks because they’re afraid they won’t get back to work and the work won’t get done. But when you skip breaks, you can significantly decrease productivity and actually end up getting less work done. The key is setting a time limit to your breaks and sticking to them. If you have trouble, try setting a timer when you take a break, or having someone back you up by making sure you get back to work – I know, easier said than done but it is really important to be disciplined as this is key.
If you’ve been pushing too hard and have reached burnout, a ten minute break just isn’t going to be enough to help you increase productivity. If you are finding yourself feeling sick, tired, and only ever in a negative mood, especially about work, then you have probably reached burn out!. If this is the case, you not only need to incorporate short breaks into your day, you need to start thinking about how and when you work – you might want to think about taking a vacation!
So there you have it. Incorporate short breaks into your daily schedule and you will see an increase in your productivity in no time – this means better results and more job satisfaction. If you have employees, you might want to think about making these breaks compulsory in your small business! Just a thought….you’ve got nothing to lose by trying.