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Productivity 101: How to Make the Most of Your Time by Taking a Break

Productivity 101: How to Make the Most of Your Time by Taking a Break

We are brought up in a society where skipping lunch is equivalent to hard work, and taking a break is not written amongst the list of priorities to do throughout the day.

When your day is jam-packed with due dates and deadlines, the tendency is you will abuse yourself by making the most of your time and working for hours. If you’re a boss, then you are most probably abusing everybody’s time under your team too.

But are you making the most of your time? Or are you just sabotaging your productivity and output?

Instead of working for straight hours, increase productivity by taking breaks. You deserve it, and your team deserves it. Taking breaks at work increases productivity, improves work output, and elevates work performance, and we got you a breakdown of reasons why:

1. Breaks help you stay focused

Feeling the rush of productivity when the train of thoughts keep on coming (and ideas keep on popping) is the best feeling when finishing a task. But let’s be real here, it does not last long.

Our brain naturally loses its attention on a specific task after a while, in a scientific study, this is called the vigilance decrement. When a stimulus remains constant over time, the brain gradually stops registering its sight, sound, and feeling.

It is indicated in the study that as your attention on a task decreases, the quality of your performance decreases as well. 

Thus taking a break or briefly deactivating your brain from the task will allow it to reactivate afterward. And reactivating your goals will let you stay focused on the job.

It is encouraged to impose short and brief breaks for your own, and the whole team’s productivity. Maintaining focus is one step in making the most of your time.

2. Breaks help solve problems.

A focused mind is a state where there is a continuous flow in the train of thought. This is where high-quality and fast output progress happens. This is very important to a team, and, generally, at work.

That is why business leaders vouch for a focused mind. But the opposite of a focused mind is just as essential.

And no, it is not called the unfocused mind; it is called the diffused mind. A diffused mind is essential to keep a person focused. To an extent, it may also help one solve a problem. A diffused mind is not a state of distraction. It is rather a state where you let your mind wander.

Daydreaming is a direct example of a diffused mind. Wandering often leads to areas in your brain that are associated with complex problem-solving.

Make the most of your time by allowing yourself and the team to go on short walks, grab a quick bite, or take a refreshing shower, and once they get back, valuable insights are guaranteed. 

3. Breaks help You align your goals.

Sometimes, when you are on the groove in working, you may easily step out of the line and lose focus, or sometimes, gain too much, too broad focus. You may arrive at a state where you are tackling information or problems out of the scope.

Working for long straight hours may steer you away from the real task.

Avoid paying attention to the wrong details and step back for quick alignment. Reevaluate your work, your progress, and your focus.

Make sure that you are aligned with what you are trying to achieve and mindful of your objectives. In this way, you will be able to make the most of your time. 

Different Methods of Taking Breaks:

Now that we have discussed how breaks increase productivity, here are four methods of taking a break. Try each one, and find out what works best for you and your team:

1.The Fifteen Minute Breaks

Let your team go on a systematic 15-minute break both in the morning and in the afternoon. This will help them be more productive as you write the list of things you will accomplish for the day, plot these 15-minute breaks along.

This will detour you and your hard-working team, away from burn out and total exhaustion. Plotting it right on their schedule will prompt them to get on and take that break. 

2. The Pomodoro Technique

This technique may or may not work for everyone, but it is still worth the try. Here, instead of having 15-minute long breaks, you are set to have multiple breaks throughout your time.

This is how it works, set your team to work for 25 minutes, then let them have a break for 5 minutes. Each 25-minute work is called ‘Pomodoro,’ an Italian word for tomato. 

Four cycles are equivalent to 100 minutes of working and 15 minutes of breaks, all in all. After four Pomodoro cycles, you may allow them to go on a whole 15-20 minute long break. This method will help the team maneuver far away from procrastinating.

3. The 52:17 method

This method is slightly similar to Pomodoro, except 25 minutes of work is escalated to, specifically, 52 minutes. And instead of a 5-minute break, you are now entitled to a, specifically, 17-minute break. These short periods of work will let you and your whole team come up with outstanding outputs.

It is like a sprint of intense and purposeful work sessions, then a proper, rewarding rest afterward.

17-minute breaks are meant to put a person in an entirely rested state of mind, to be able to sprint again afterward. A study showed that 10% of the most productive employees in a company practice this method.

4. The 90-minute Solution

In this method, it is indicated that for a person to function at his/her best, they will need to go on 90-minute intervals. These intervals will renew their energy, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. 

It has been observed that our bodies operate with the same 90-minute rhythm during our sleep and during day time. If you test this one on your team, let their productivity intensify in ninety minutes, then recharge or renew the energy afterward.

Do Breaks Increase Productivity?

If you are still wondering, see for yourself and start taking a break. Take a nap, go for a walk, grab a quick bite, grab a coffee, and many other creative and fruitful ways to break. Observe how breaks affect you and your team in terms of productivity.

Taking a break is not a waste of time, if anything else, it is very efficient and essential.

Roland Francis Dacillo
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