How to Take a Real Break


Research has shown that stepping away from your work for a bit during the day can actually lead to better productivity than if you just try to grind it out without stopping.

More specifically, taking a short break has been shown to boost mental sharpness, lessen fatigue, alleviate pain and boost alertness.

Americans are a hardworking bunch, with the typical worker in the US putting in an average of 9.2 hours of work each day. Furthermore, about 2-in-3 workers repot not stepping away from their work station to take a lunch break during their typical workday.

Embrace the “Microbreak”

You might think that your workday is so demanding – you don’t have time to step aside for 10 or 15 minutes. However, scientists have found that even taking little mini-breaks of 30 seconds to 5 minutes can boost mental sharpness by an average of 13 percent. For those working at a computer screen, a 15-second break every 10 minutes can cut fatigue by 50 percent.

Workers dealing with pain in their lower arms can also see a benefit by taking a microbreak, with a 5-minute break each hour completely removing pain and discomfort.

As for increased productivity, research has shown that breaks of just 90 seconds can boost worker effectiveness by more than 6 percent. Breaks of 120 seconds have been shown to increase productivity by more than 11 percent.

Schedule Break Time Where Possible

In some intense and fast-paced jobs, it might be difficult to find time for a long break. However, setting up time for just a 6-minute break every 80 minutes has been shown to have significant benefits. If it seems like that break schedule is too frequent, that you won’t feel the need to stop every 80 minutes – you should know that breaks are most effective when taken before they are needed.

Even a quick 2-minute break can be enough to rejuvenate your systems. Standing and stretching increases the amount of oxygen flowing to your brain, which has a stimulating effect. Resting your eyes can help relieve eye strain. And even briefly checking social media has been shown to give a slight productivity boost.

More Than Just an Energy Boost

The habit of taking regular breaks offers more than just energy. It can also boost inspiration and creativity.

Regardless of how much you adore your work, it’s difficult to keep being innovative and creative all day. Something as simple as a 10-minute conversation with a friend, or watching an inspiring video clip can provide a jolt of inspiration or point us in a new direction if we’ve been stuck.

It really is challenging to see a different perspective or new insights when we use the same approach for hours on end. Talking a step away – literally or figuratively – could be precisely what we need to refresh.

Furthermore, we’re not made to sit around all day. As challenging as being inactive is on our bodies, it’s not ideal for our creativity either. Standing up for a few minutes to get the blood flowing and can also inspire some new thoughts.

At Career Concepts, we work with our client companies to make them as productive as possible. If your company needs a custom staffing solution to increase its productivity, please feel free to contact us today.

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