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You're Taking Breaks The Wrong Way, Here's How To Fix That

Distract Yourself To Recharge Your Focus

Distract Yourself To Recharge Your Focus

Intense focus actually makes us less focused in the long run. Instead of thinking about the problem without stop, we need to create distractions that take our attention away from the task at hand so we can come back at it with a fresh mind.

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You're Taking Breaks The Wrong Way, Here's How To Fix That

You're Taking Breaks The Wrong Way, Here's How To Fix That

https://www.fastcompany.com/40475204/youre-taking-breaks-the-wrong-way-heres-how-to-fix-that

fastcompany.com

8

Key Ideas

We Need Breaks

recent Apple ad celebrated entrepreneurs working so hard, they’re not able to see their children.

This style of working is unsustainable. We physically can’t work at 100% capacity, 100% of the time. We need breaks. 

Take A Break Every 52 Minutes

After analyzing 5.5 million daily records of how office workers are using their computer (based on what the user self-identified as “productive” work), they found that the top 10% of productive workers all worked an average of 52 minutes before taking a 17 minute break.

Distract Yourself To Recharge Your Focus

Intense focus actually makes us less focused in the long run. Instead of thinking about the problem without stop, we need to create distractions that take our attention away from the task at hand so we can come back at it with a fresh mind.

Take In The Great Outdoors

Studies show that just spending time in nature can help alleviate mental fatigue by relaxing and restoring the mind. Additionally, increased exposure to sunlight and fresh air helps increase productivity and can even improve your sleep. 

Simply being around natural elements can have the same effect.

Give Your Mind The Right Fuel

Your brain works best with a consistent level of glucose in your blood–25 grams.

To keep your brain working at peak performance, opt for a snack on your break that includes a higher level of protein, such as a small serving of chicken, beef, or fish, nuts or nut butter, or a protein supplement.

Exercise Your Eyes

Our eyes take the burden of much of our tech-fueled lives.Your eyes can begin to feel strain in as little as two hours.

Use a simple exercise that will help reduce your eye fatigue: 20-20-20. Every 20 minutes look away from your computer screen and focus on an item at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. 

Exercise

Hit the gym (or at least go for a walk).

Researchers discovered that just 10 minutes of exercise is enough to boost memory and attention performance throughout the day.

Let Your Mind Wander

Daydreaming is a fantastic way for us to access our unconscious and allow ideas that have been silently incubating to bubble up into our conscious. 

Meaning that while you think you’re doing nothing, you’re actually mining the depths of your mind for more creative solutions to the problems you’re facing.

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Microbreaks

They refer to any brief activity that helps to break up the monotony of physically or mentally draining tasks. 

They can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes a...

The power of microbreaks

They can improve workers’ ability to concentrate, change the way they see their jobs, and even help them avoid the typical injuries that people get when they’re tied to their desks all day.

There’s no consensus on how long the ideal microbreak should last or how often you should have them; it’s up to you to experiment with what works best.

Why stretching matters

Tiny breaks are thought to help us to cope with long periods at our desks by taking the strain off certain body structures – such as the neck – that we’re using all day.

If you’re getting into microbreaks to give your body – rather than your brain – a rest, it’s best to do something physical like standing up or changing position.  

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Schedule Flow Time

A good general rule of thumb is blocking out one-to-two-hour chunks of time in your calendar for uninterrupted work.

You have to stay committed to getting into the rhythm. It’s critical to ig...

Timeboxing

Timeboxing is allocating a pre-determined amount of time to finish a given activity. It encourages you to find more efficient ways to finish tasks.

Know When To Disconnect

Recognize when you need to take a break and continue later on when you can be more effective. Signs that you need to take a break are:

  • Struggling to focus continually.
  • If you’re making a lot of little mistakes.
  • When you’re feeling agitated or stressed.
  • If your eyes are hurting.
  • When you feel tired.

Regardless of how you’re feeling, you should take a quick break every 90 minutes or two hours.

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Your workspace matters
Your workspace matters
When you spend hours at your desk every day, even the smallest features of your workspace – such as the position of your monitor or the height of your chair– can greatly affect your productivity and e...
Lighting
  • The best kind of light you can have in your office is natural light. It helps our bodies maintain our internal "clocks" or circadian rhythms which affects our sleep and energy. 
  • Poor lighting, whether it's dim lighting or harsh lighting from overhead fluorescent lights, can cause eye strain, stress, and fatigue.
  • Don't sit with your back to a window unless you can shade it.
  • Don't sit facing a window because that will make reading a monitor difficult. 
  • If you use a task lamp at your desk, position it so the bottom of the lampshade is at about the height of your chin when it's on.
Plants
  • Indoor plants prevent fatigue during attention-demanding work. 
  • Even just having a window view of live greenery can be restorative and keep us focused.
  • A peace lily plant requires little sunlight to survive and you only have to water it when the soil is dried out and is also great for cleaning the air.
  • Cacti and aloe plants are other low-maintenance plants to consider.

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