Good time management is important to any career – and not just in terms of getting work done. We don’t often realize this, but scheduling breaks is as important to productivity as slotting time for various tasks. In fact, research shows that even short breaks can have a positive impact on one’s workplace efficiency and overall productivity.
But what constitutes a good break? According to the Harvard Business Review, two fifteen-minute breaks would be the ideal: one around mid-morning, one towards the evening. Of course, this would also depend on the nature of your job and how many hours you work (and which hours of the day these take up). You could, alternatively, also checkout this infographic to help you schedule your breaks.
If you’re still not convinced that more breaks are what you need (or if you feel you’d rather spend those 15 minutes responding to emails), consider the following:
1) Break time should be ‘no screen’ time
Not only is this more likely to ensure you don’t end up accidentally working while you’re supposed to be on break (it’s hard to avoid those notifications when the red dot on your screen keeps staring you in the face) but your eyes will be more than relieved to be given from the screen. You would be less likely to end up with headaches in the long run – and this would also ensure you don’t end up wasting time on the internet.
But then, what can you do instead?
2) Take a few moments to go over your day (or week)
Have a notebook and a pen with you, and jot down some notes, or make a list. This will help you keep track of jobs that need to be done, either in your personal or professional life. Often, when we get so caught up in finishing off one task, we tend to forget other smaller tasks that also need to get done. Use your breaks to go over, check off, and update tasks.
3) Grab a snack
Everybody needs energy to get through the day. Low energy = low productivity. Fix yourself something to eat, or make a quick run to a café. Try to make sure you get away from your desk/workstation. Don’t forget to hydrate yourself. Use the break to fill up a canteen/water bottle and have it by yourself while you work, so you don’t have to keep getting up afterwards.
4) Get moving
If going for a quick run is not an option, even just a walk would do. There’s more than enough research out there to show that exercise boosts productivity. Let these boss ladies shwo you how it’s done; 5 women CEOs fitness mantra is what you need to break a sweat and in turn get more productive, Voila!.
5) Breathe, relax, do something fun
And before you think that’s going to be a waste of time, let us assure you, it’s not. A stressed out mind and body are not conducive to a productive human being. Even if it’s for just ten minutes, do something (preferably not involving a screen) to unwind: read a short story, a magazine article, or a few pages of a novel. Colour in an adult colouring book. Call up a friend or loved one for a quick chat. You’ll be able to get back to your work feeling a lot more pumped up – and won’t have to look back at the end of the week feeling like your life is all work and no play.