deepstash

Beta

The Science of Breaks at Work: Change Your Thinking About Downtime

Deepstash brings you key ideas from the most inspiring articles like this one:

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

https://open.buffer.com/science-taking-breaks-at-work/

open.buffer.com

The Science of Breaks at Work: Change Your Thinking About Downtime
I know you don't want to take a break right now. Why? Because you're too busy. This post is probably one of more than a few tabs you have open on your browser or phone. Your to-do list is likely close by and packed with tasks.

9

Key Ideas

Save all ideas

Breaks keep us from getting bored

The human brain just wasn’t built for the extended focus we ask of it these days.

The fix for this unfocused condition is simple—all we need is a brief interruption (aka a break) to ge...

283 SAVES


Breaks and brain connections

Our brains have two modes:

  • focused mode, which we use when we’re doing things like learning something new, writing or working) and 
  • diffuse mode, whi...

312 SAVES


Breaks help us reevaluate our goals

When you work on a task continuously, it’s easy to lose focus and get lost in the weeds. In contrast, following a brief intermission, picking up where you left off forces you to take a few secon...

227 SAVES


Stop feeling guilty about breaks

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is indispensable to the brain. It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.

259 SAVES


The Pomodoro technique

Work in small bursts to help you get rid of distractions and focus more intently.

Just set a timer for 25 minutes, and when it goes off, take a short break for 5 minutes. Stretch your...

321 SAVES


90-minute work blocks

Working in 90-minute intervals for maximizing productivity means working with our bodies’ natural rhythms.

When studies were conducted on elite performers like violinists, athletes, ac...

325 SAVES


The 52-17 method

Most productive people work for 52 minutes at a time, then take a break for 17 minutes before getting back to it. 

They make the most of those 52 minutes by working with intens...

349 SAVES


Two 15-minute breaks per day

Blocking out two planned, 15-minute intermissions in your day—one in the mid-morning and the other in the mid-afternoon. 

Around 3 p.m. is the least productive time of day, so def...

246 SAVES


Productivity-boosting activities for breaks

Productivity-boosting activities for breaks
  • Take a walk. 
  • Daydream. It leads to creativity.
  • Eat to replenish your brain.
  • Read a (non-work) book.
  • Get a coffee....

434 SAVES


SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Taking breaks is key to better productivity

Taking breaks is key to better productivity

The harder and longer you work, the less productive overall you'll be. Research confirms that taking breaks before you're mentally exhausted is essential for productivity.

Setting healthy boundaries

Set your personal boundaries, so you have dedicated time to take care of yourself, your family or household, and your professional responsibilities. You won't be any good to your family if you regularly jump up to respond to work.

The key to success is deciding on expectations, then communicating those to others. You need to get clear in your mind what hours you will be attending to your work. Perhaps dedicate a space in your home as the "office," letting everyone know that you need privacy. Decide when you are "on" and when you are "off."

Technology and productivity

We all have tools in our pockets to help us.

  • For example, consider using your phone's built-in alarm for taking breaks, or giving yourself a reminder to eat lunch, or taking a screen break to reduce eyestrain.
  • If you find it challenging to work, consider a productivity method like the Pomodoro technique, where you work deeply for about 25 minutes, then take a short break. Repeat four of the cycles, then take a 30-minute break before starting again. There are many Pomodoro apps to help you.
  • Don't forget to use the same technology to turn off notifications and distractions while you're working.

2 more ideas

Myth #5: You Should Never Work At Home

Myth #5: You Should Never Work At Home

Some people working from home have a higher efficiency on time spent working and performance per minute. The employees surveyed also reported they were happier working at home. 

Myth #4: Pushing To Get Things Done

Willpower is a limited resource, one that we deplete through hard, focused work. We need to take regular breaks to restore our flagging willpower and keep our productivity in the long run.

Take a break and do something different for a few minutes every half-hour or so to give your brain a break and replenish your mental resources. 

Myth #3: The Internet Is A Distraction

The Internet distracts but we use it for researching items and retaining information. If you build up your searching skills and ignore distractions, like social networks, it becomes just a tool.

2 more ideas

The Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro is doing focused work in 25-minute sessions throughout the day. After each session, take a five-minute break. After completing four consecutive Pomodoros, take a 20 to 30-minute break.

The Problem with Pomodoro

Pomodoro is excellent for tackling tasks you don't feel like doing or jobs that require little thought.

However, other tasks, like writing or coding, require uninterrupted time. The problem with the Pomodoro method is that the timer is a consistent interruption that prevents you from getting into a state of flow.

The Flowtime Technique

It is a modified Pomodoro. And it solves Pomodoro's big problems.

  • It works by writing down one task you intend to work on during a focus session.
  • Then work until you start feeling tired or distracted, write down the end time, and take a break. A break can be anything from 5 minutes to 15 minutes.

Because you're not tied to a timer, you're more likely to find yourself in a flow state from time to time.

one more idea