Taking Breaks to Keep Your Creative Juices Flowing
Do you find it hard to pull yourself away from your work? How many times a week do you feel exhausted during the work day? Has your work consumed your life? If you can answer yes to at least one of these questions (which most of us can), it is time for you to take a break! There is an increasing amount of research that links taking breaks to higher productivity and creativity.
The Positive Impact of Taking Breaks
Our industry involves long hours and some days it is jammed packed with deadlines and projects that it is impossible to get away for 5 minutes to take a break. But it is important that you do take a break, even if it is for 2 minutes at a time. The human brain is a muscle and like the rest of the muscles in the body it can get fatigued and tired. I admit there have been many days at a time where I am glued to my computer and I don’t leave my desk and/or office. But I’ve noticed when I schedule breaks within my work day I am able to get more done, without losing focus.
Not only does taking breaks increase productivity, it helps to boost creativity. Which we all know is a vital part of our industry. Many times the greatest ideas come to us when we aren’t working on the project at hand. According to “To Stay on Schedule, Take a Break”, an article written in The New York Times, it is believed that Albert Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity on a bike ride.
By taking breaks and giving your brain a rest from working, you are able to avoid an overworked and tired mind. You won’t have to worry about day dreaming or being easily distracted and can avoid making costly and careless mistakes. Working in shorter burst allows for you to stay focused on the task and avoid mental lapses.
Studies show that taking breaks from staring at the computer every 10 minutes will reduces fatigue by 50%. Taking regular 2 minute breaks increases productivity by 11.15%.
The article, “To Stay on Schedule, Take a Break”, also quoted Professor John P. Trougakos, who is an assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborgough, “Employees generally need to detach from their work and their work space to recharge their internal resources.” He goes on to say, “There is no need to take a break if you’re on a roll. Working over an extended period can be invigorating - if it’s your choice. What drains your energy reserves most is forcing yourself to go on.”
Here are some different ways to stay refreshed:
This break is between 30 seconds to 5 minutes. Just one improves mental acuity by an average of 13%, according to Orca Health’s Infographic.
2. Lunch Breaks
Make taking breaks for lunch a priority! Get away from your desk to have lunch at least 2 times a week.
3. After Work
Pick a reasonable time when you are going to stop working. If it is once you leave the office, that’s great! If that isn’t possible, choose a time in the early evening to stop working and relax the rest of the night. Some great ideas to unwind could be going to the gym, watching a movie, read a book and going out to dinner. Anything that makes you relax works!
4. Take a Vacation
Even if you just take a long weekend, taking breaks from work and the office will allow your body and mind to recovery. This way you can return to work refreshed and ready to work.
Yes, I know there are days where it is impossible to get away and take a break. It's hard to even get away from your desk for lunch. But trying to take a few minutes away from what you’re doing only helps you in the long run. Easier said than done? Try to schedule times to take breaks and hold yourself to it! If you can’t get away during the work day, do a non-work related activity once you get off. So take a break, get refreshed and keep the creative juices flowing.