Many of us work from home right now. And even though it may seem contradictary, research shows that people take less breaks while working from home than they do in the office. When you’re in the office, you probably walk to the coffee machine every now and then. Or you walk across the building to ask your colleague a question. Maybe you go for lunch together with colleagues, outside or in the company cafetaria. But at home, none of that happens. That is not a good thing. Because by taking regular breaks you can improve your productivity a lot.
Why It’s Harder at Home
It’s not just that you don’t get to walk much in your own office space a home. Many even feel guilty when taking a break. They do everything to avoid appearing “offline” or “away” on their company messenger service. Maybe some are afraid of what others might think of them. Working from home also makes it way too easy to drink and eat while sitting at your computer. Instead of getting away from the screen, snacking at your desk like that will not give your brain the break it needs.
Breaks Improve Productivity
Taking a break is about more than a coffee or a quick chat with a colleague. It’s not a luxury. It’s an absolute necessity! So, try to ditch the guilty feelings of taking a break from work. Regular breaks will help you work better, feel better, reduce stress and improve productivity. Even your boss will be happy, because it makes you a better employee. Here are 6 reasons why taking a break improves your productivity.
1. You Cannot Function Productively for Hours on End
Humans are unable to function productively for hours on end, despite how young or energetic you may be. Your brain is just not wired for it. In fact, some studies suggest that maximum productivity per day is just 2 hours and 23 minutes. So does that mean there’s no point in working longer than that? No, but it does show that it is important to take a break after working for a couple of hours to improve your productivity.
2. Regular Breaks Are Good for Your Memory
Scientific studies shows that taking regular short breaks help improve your memory. And having a better memory means you will be faster and more effective when working through tasks. Moreover, Taking breaks helps you retain recently acquired information.
It is very easy to apply this insight. Imagine you are doing research for a report or you are in a presentation for an hour. Actually walking away afterward and taking a short break, maybe having a coffee, will help you retain the facts, figures, and information you just received.
3. Enhancing Your Energy Levels to Improve Productivity
It sounds kind of obvious but taking a break increases your energy levels. Nothing is worse for productivity than being lethargic and doing nothing. If you are tired, you cannot concentrate well and you will not get much done. It’s very simple, isn’t it? Taking a break at lunchtime boosts energy levels and helps you focus better in the afternoon. But it has to be an actual break, not 5 minutes browsing your social media feed or eating at your desk. There is no need to feel guilty about that. It’s a scientific fact that you will improve productivity if you take that break.
4. Taking a Break Helps You Make Decisions
Most of us have to make decisions in our work every day. When your brain is in need of a break but you dont take it, chances are higher that you will take decisions without thinking them through. Failing to take breaks leads to decision fatigue. So get away from your screen for a little but when having to make important decisions. Get some fresh air. Even a 10-minute walk outside your house could be just what you need to feel fresh again and improve both productivity as well as decision-making.
5. Taking A Break Improves Creativity
Does your work involve some need for creativity? Do you write, use images, have to think out-of-the-box or come up with solutions? Imagination and creativity are needed to do these things well. Have you noticed that you often come up with solutions when you are not sitting at your laptop but rather while you are lying in bed, taking a shower, or a walk or just relaxing? That’s when your brain comes up with creative ideas. It turns out that going for walks boosts your creativity most. In case you were feeling guilty about taking breaks, you could actually consider your 10-minute walk a part of your job and creative process.
6. Breaks Improve Your Health
If you are healthy, you will be more productive. It’s a total no-brainer. You need to take breaks for both your mental and physical health. That is especially the case if you have a job that involves sitting at your desk most of the day. Sitting can cause all kinds of physical problems. So, stand up, move, walk. It is good for your health and improves your productiviy.
So, Take a Break and Improve Your Productivity
If you want to work smarter and continue to be productive, taking regular beaks is a necessity. It does not just benefit your health and improve your productivity. It makes you a better employee too. So dont worry about appearing “away” on your messenger service. It does not mean you’re not still working! On the contrary, being “away” is exactly what you need every now and then to work better.
My article next week will go into time management and how to fit breaks into your schedule. If you want to reduce your stress in the meantime, click right here.