5 Ways to take effective work breaks to boost your productivity

5 Ways to take effective work breaks to boost your productivity

While it may seem counterintuitive, taking breaks is one of the best ways to boost productivity. Working nonstop exhausts your body and mind, resulting in lower productivity levels and a higher chance of human error.

Here are five tips for taking effective work breaks that will help you become more productive and efficient:

1. Take short but frequent breaks

Taking several short breaks is actually more effective than taking one long break. This allows you to recharge your batteries without disrupting your workflow too much.

But how short should a break be? One study suggests that workers need to be productive for 52 minutes straight, then rest for 17 minutes, while the Pomodoro technique recommends working for 25 minutes and then taking a 3- to 5-minute break, and then a 15- to 30-minute break every 90 minutes or so. The key is to frequently step away from your work to give yourself a mental and physical break.

Taking short breaks allows you to recharge your batteries without disrupting your workflow too much.

2. Get up and move around

When you're feeling tired or drained, it can be tempting to just sit around during your break. However, getting up and walking around is one of the most effective ways to re-energize your body and mind. According to a study, people who walked for half an hour three times a week during lunch felt less tense and more enthusiastic and relaxed.

So the next time you're feeling tired, take a quick walk around the block for a few minutes. You'll be surprised at how much better you'll feel.

3. Use your break to refuel

Your body needs energy to function properly during work hours, even if you have a regular desk job. Skipping meals or not eating enough can lead to feelings of fatigue, irritability, or headaches.

That's why it's important to use your break time to refuel with healthy snacks or a proper meal. Eat a nutritious salad or sandwich, or munch on fruits and nuts. By eating healthy foods, not only will you feel better physically, but you'll also be able to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.

4. Get distracted

Working for long periods might lead to cognitive boredom. This is the point at which your brain no longer registers new sights, sounds, or other stimuli because you've been doing the same thing for a long time.

If you can’t find a solution to a certain problem at work or have been writing a long report for some time, stop for a bit and do other things. Check your personal email, read a book, or play a game on your phone. These small distractions help your mind to refocus and reset, so you're more engaged when you go back to work.

5. Take a power nap

A 20-minute power nap just helps you recharge during the workday. And according to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, naps can also help improve your productivity, cognitive function, and psychological well-being.

If you don’t have time for a full nap, try closing your eyes for a few minutes. Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and focus on deep breathing for 10 minutes or so.

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