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5 Science-Backed Ways Taking A Break Boosts Our Productivity

A break can serve as creative fuel

Something as simple as a ten-minute conversation with a friend, or watching an inspiring video can give us a much needed boost, or point us in a new direction if we've been stuck. 

Talking a step away -- literally or figuratively -- might be just what we need to recharge.

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5 Science-Backed Ways Taking A Break Boosts Our Productivity

5 Science-Backed Ways Taking A Break Boosts Our Productivity

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/5-science-backed-ways-taking-a-break-boosts-our-productivity_b_8548292

huffpost.com

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Key Ideas

Taking a break once an hour

... increases productivity. Recent studies show that those who give in to some kind of diversion or distraction once an hour perform better than those who just keep at it without a break. 

Taking a break allows us to come back to the job at hand with renewed energy and sense of purpose.

A break can serve as creative fuel

Something as simple as a ten-minute conversation with a friend, or watching an inspiring video can give us a much needed boost, or point us in a new direction if we've been stuck. 

Talking a step away -- literally or figuratively -- might be just what we need to recharge.

Physical movement

We are not designed to sit around all day. 

Getting up for a few minutes and getting our blood flowing and some more oxygen to the brain is a necessary piece of the work day.

Take a tea break

An afternoon tea break gives us more than a caffeine boost.

The process of making and drinking a cup of tea makes us slow down and gives us time for a much needed pause.

Exercise

Playing hard helps us with working hard.
If you know you typically have an afternoon energy slump, consider a lunchtime workout.
Studies have shown that a moderate level of cardio activity can boost creativity and productivity for two hours afterwards. 

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Recharging your energy
Just as you need to refuel your car and recharge the batteries in your cell phone, it’s important to give yourself the chance to recoup your energy levels throughout the workday.
Fully switch off

We're usually tempted to spend breaks doing things that are convenient but aren’t truly restful (internet shopping, browsing the latest news, etc.) 

But brief work breaks are only genuinely rejuvenating when they give you the chance to fully switch off. Any kind of activity that involves willpower or concentration, even if it’s not in a work context, is only going to add to your fatigue levels.

Take short breaks early and often

The timing of our breaks makes a difference.

Although it may be tempting to wait until we’re flagging later in the day before allowing ourselves a short break, we actually respond better to breaks in the morning - it seems we need to have some fuel in the tank to benefit from a re-fill.

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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.

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Personal Productivity Curves

A lot of the internal things that affect our productivity are out of our control. Our energy, focus, and motivation follow their own path or “productivity curve” throughout the day. 

Energy curves

We’re naturally more energetic and motivated at specific times of the day. Researchers call this our Circadian Rhythm. Every person’s rhythm is slightly different, but the majority follow a similar pattern.

  • Waking up. Our energy levels start to naturally rise.
  • Around 10 am. We’ve hit our peak concentration levels that start to decline and dip between 1-3 pm.
  • Afternoon.  Our energy levels rise again until falling off again sometime between 9–11 pm.
90 Minute Cycles

We work best in natural cycles of 90-120 minute sessions before needing a break. When we need a break, our bodies send us signals, such as becoming hungry, sleepy, fidgeting, or losing focus.

If you ignore these signs and think you can just work through them, your body uses your reserve stores of energy to keep up. It means releasing stress hormones to give an extra kick of energy.

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