Remember when you were a kid and all you thought about during the school day was when the bell would ring so you could run-walk outside for recess? Whether it was kickball, tetherball or just hanging near the swingset was your jam, the mental and physical break from school work was beneficial for everyone involved. The most productive tasks were scheduled right after kids got their wiggles out on the playground. The same is still true today in the workplace.
Chances are, you already know the variety of benefits of taking breaks in adulthood. But, let’s face it many of us still struggle to step away. Don’t let tomorrow be the day you finally create a better balance.
Here are some realistic ways to find time to step back, refocus and be more productive at work.
Look for Natural Pauses. Keep a notepad nearby and jot down the times of the day when you feel sluggish or tend to lose your focus. Use those notes to build breaks into your day when you need it the most without losing your mojo.
Schedule your Breaks. You schedule meetings, set reminders for important things you don’t want to forget, why not schedule your breaks? Use the notes you’ve taken about the flow of your workday and insert 15 minutes here and there. Of course, if you’re in the middle of a phone call or meeting with a colleague during a scheduled break time you adjust. But, being able to see it on your schedule might be enough of a reminder to actually take them. You could give it a fun even title it as, “Refocus, Time for a Break!”.
Or try out the Pomorodo technique. Just set a timer for 25 minutes, and when it goes off, take a short break for 5 minutes. Stretch your legs, grab a drink, or just sit back and relax. After you’ve done four Pomodoro sessions, take a longer break of 30 minutes or so. Working in such compact time periods helps you get rid of distractions and focus more intently.