Does taking a break make you more, or less productive?
This is a summery of a study that was done by Dr. West from the University of Miami.
First of all, in this study, taking a break is described as “a self-generated interlude in the stream of one’s current work activities.”
Over 300 city managers’ break habits were studied and the results were interesting.
These city managers used their time on breaks to engage in physical activity, for private reflection time, and to engage coworkers.
What was the outcome?
Taking more breaks is associated with increased effectiveness and feelings of being restored.
Taking more breaks is also associated with reducing stress.
Senior city managers strongly agreed that they get received good ideas when allowed to think alone.
Organizations that encouraged time out for reflection were associated with increased managerial effectiveness.
Breaks kept managers from being unfocused and kept them engaged.
Breaks helped managers retain information and gave them the ability to “connect the dots” in projects in order to solve problems.
A study by Staples discovered that 66% of employees spend more than 8 hours a day at work and that a quarter of them don’t take a break other than lunch. 1 in 5 of those employees said that they felt guilty taking a break.
On the flip side of that, 90% of bosses said that they encouraged breaks and that 86% of employees agreed that taking breaks makes them more productive. Although many think that taking breaks increases productivity, its’ actually the opposite. Working without taking breaks has been proven time and time again to decrease performance and lower effectiveness.
Personally, I find that taking a break increases my energy level, it mentally restores me, and it allows me to tackle problems from a new point of view. Some of my greatest moments of creativity have come when kicking around ideas with coworkers over a cup of coffee.
Do you think taking a break makes you more effective?
In order to increase the effectiveness of your breaks, follow these guidelines.
- Take your breaks earlier in the day
- Drink coffee!
- Disconnect from work during your break
- Focus on eating food that won’t spike your insulin
- Change your scenery, go for a walk
- Take a nap – this is easier said than done depending on where you work
- Listen to music
- Read something that’s not work related
- Socialize, especially if you spend all day looking at a computer screen
- Keep to yourself, especially if you spend all day talking to people in meetings
Exercise your eyes with the 20-20-20 rule or with computer glasses
If you spend most of your day looking at a computer screen, your eyes need a break, even if your mind doesn’t! Use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a break for at least 20 seconds and look at objects that are at least 20 feet away from you.
In addition to that, you might want to try some computer glasses. Read my review here.
Start 2018 off right
January 2018 we’re launching an email course that will walk you through first 15 days of the year and put you in a position to strategically lead teams.