The Beauty of Breaks – Here’s Why We Need Them
Get comfortable, it’s time for a story. It’s Thursday afternoon, just hit 15:00 – two hours till you can pack your briefcase, shutdown your desktop, wash that coffee cup and head on home. A sense of relief hits as you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel but, as you open your next email, the words on the screen seem to slap you in the face like a grand piano falling from the sky. Your brain is dead, your eyes are strained, you simply can’t type anymore; let alone think about what you’re about to write to the top client of your company. You rub your eyes, pour yourself another cup of Joe and get cracking. That’s the spirit right?
Well, sure it is – we all get tired, we all give our 110% but seriously, when was the last time you had a break? Powering through the work day like a Formula 1 race car isn’t going to serve you in the long run, you’re going to run out of fuel and hit a wall harder than Ayrton Senna’s 1994 episode – and your burnout will not go down in history.
The human brain is a delicate tool that we need to learn to respect and treat well for it to serve us for a long and fruitful life. Cheating your brain of nature escapes, time out sessions and screen time breaks makes you a whole lot less productive. The value of taking breaks will not only make you feel a whole lot better throughout the day but it will also make your employers happier with the top-notch work you produce 100% of the time. Here are the hows and they whys:
Sitting at a desk, be it your office area, study desk or gaming armchair, lengthy stretches spent sitting down will lead you down a road of physical and emotional distress – there’s nothing pretty about eating lunch at your desk, there’s nothing worse than skipping a toilet break to get to that last email and nothing more serious than understanding that movement is super important for a productive and healthy day.
Do it now. Get off your desk chair, go for a walk, stretch a little bit – move your body. This will recharge you and get you back into full-working mode.
Ever had cloudy thoughts? Maybe during that final 16:00 meeting; where you drift away from the conversation and into a hazy plan of what to do next weekend? Well, losing focus is all because your brain was not given enough time to chill at some point in the day; lunch break chats are designed to stray away from office thoughts, study period planning and other routine practices.
Wiring your brain to think of the trivial things during your breaks and check your phone for social media updates when you’re having some downtime is how you can amplify those decision making moments – maybe when the CEO you’re in a meeting with asks you an important question about his brand.
So stop procrastinating, take a short break, think of rainbows, unicorns and anything else that floats your boat. You need the distance and motivation.
The more rigid your life, the more rigid your work production – mix it up a bit, take your break on the office balcony, swap that 5-inch salami sub for a quick walk around your university and have a fresh juice instead.
The stress and pressure that we have at work can seriously inhibit our creativity and innovation – and in a world where competition to create the legendary work skyrockets on a daily basis, you really can’t afford to numb your brain by skipping your break.
If a 1hr break seems like too much, break it down into four 15 minute slots – totally realistic!
If all of this is really new to your work time practices, be sure to monitor your habits, notice what works for you and what makes you feel like you can conquer the world and what makes you a whole lot more sluggish. Never break your flow and force yourself to take a break, let it happen naturally and you’ll find that taking a break when at work will take you from that everyday employee to a superstar in no time.