When you have a ton of studying to do, or a backlog of work to complete, taking a break may seem like a luxury you cannot afford. But, in reality, breaks aren’t luxuries; they’re necessities. Abusing your mind and body to the point where you feel like you are on the verge of having a meltdown is not the key to success.
Breaks are essential if you want to maximize your production rate at work or school. Though it seems counterintuitive, taking a break from work or study actually raises your productivity, improves morale and makes you less susceptible to pain and injuries. Taking just a few minutes to stretch your muscles and adjust your position gives your mind and body a much-needed refresh and helps you get more done in the long run.
In this article, we will be discussing how taking a break from work or study can increase your productiveness. Plus, we’ll be sharing a few activities — like working on diamond painting kits — you can do when you decide to step away from your work or studies for a few minutes. Let’s dive in!
Benefits of Taking a Break
Taking a break is about more than providing relaxation or entertainment for your brain. It’s about giving your body a chance to recharge as well. When you’re feeling tired or sore, and take a few minutes to rejuvenate, you’re able to return to your job or studies with enhanced energy and focus. Here are a few specific benefits of taking breaks:
Make Better Decisions
After several hours of working or studying, your brain is tired, and you might have a hard time making choices. This is especially true if you’ve already spent several hours working through important options. This is known as decision fatigue, and it’s an all-too-common problem that you can avoid simply by taking regular breaks.
The longer you work on a task, the more you will likely struggle to stay focused on it. According to one study, attention resources decrease when you perform the same task for an extended length of time. As your concentration reserves dwindle, so does your ability to focus on the task at hand.
This means that If you plan a two-hour study session, you’re going to have a harder and harder time focusing as time ticks by. An hour into your session, you may find yourself re-reading the same page several times just to get the material to stick and make sense.
But, if you take a five-minute break every half hour or so, you’ll likely be able to take in and retain a lot more information during the session. The same goes for when you’re working on large projects at the office. Taking breaks is the best way to help yourself stay focused.
If you’re feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, you probably aren’t going to get much done. Continuing to work or study when your brain has reached its limit isn’t productive. If you want to perform at maximum efficiency, you need to decrease your stress levels by taking some time away from your tasks.
Even short “microbreaks” work to lower stress levels. Something as simple as standing up to stretch or running to grab a fresh cup of coffee can make a big difference.
How to Ensure Your Breaks Are Effective
Breaks are an essential part of any successful work or study session. However, there are right and wrong ways to take a break when boosting productivity is your goal. You may be tempted to scroll through social media when you have a few moments to yourself, but that type of activity can increase stress rather than decrease it. Instead of falling into unhealthy break habits, find ways to unwind that clear your mind and help you feel better.
Spend Time on a Hobby
Working on a hobby is a good way to de-stress during your lunch break or any other time when you have more than a few minutes to yourself. If you enjoy crafting, diamond painting is an excellent option. Easy to pick-up and master, this hobby lowers stress levels, and quickly gives one a sense of accomplishment. After just a few minutes of diamond painting, you can return to work or studying feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Other hobbies to consider pursuing during breaks include reading, knitting, word puzzles, yoga and meditation.
Get Up and Move
Sitting in one spot and working on the same task for an extended period of time doesn’t just take a toll on your mind; it affects your body, too. Movement is medicine, and scheduling “movement breaks” into your day can significantly improve your focus and productivity. Going for a walk on your lunch break or even just standing up to stretch and move for a few minutes every hour fights lethargy and elevates your mood.
Eat Healthy Snacks
Instead of downing sugary snacks in an effort to give yourself a quick boost, try refueling with some healthy bites. A few excellent options include:
- Protein bar
- Fruit (fresh or dried)
- Wasabi peas
- Apples and peanut butter
Use your break as a chance to make sure you’re staying hydrated, too. Coffee gives you an energy boost and can help you focus, but don’t forget to drink plenty of water, too.
Taking breaks throughout the day eases stress, improves mental health and can help restore focus. And all of these things work together to maximize productivity. The next time you find yourself struggling to stay focused on the task at hand, don’t force yourself to work through it. Instead, take a few minutes to decompress.
Even after a short break, you will likely find that you return to the task with renewed energy and the focus you need to get the job done. Whether you spend some time working on a diamond painting, completing a puzzle or grabbing a tasty and healthy snack, you’ll be giving your mind and body what they need to make it through the day.