Taking a break might sound counter-productive for a hustling worker but it is scientifically proven to boost productivity.
However, not all of these kinds of breaks are going to be productive, at least not as much as others.
So, to make the most of your breaks, here are the best ways to take a break from your work that boost productivity.
Settle Down For Sometime
In today’s world with too many stimuli, technological advancement and social media, we are more bound to jump from one thing to another.
It makes us restless and puts us in a state of “monkey mind” unable to settle. You develop this issue of always having this itch to jump from one thing to another.
Not healthy at all! This promotes ADHD or other mental comulsiveness to just consume something all the time.
This gives you mind fatigue, especially in the long run, it gets worse. So you must have some time in your day where you just do nothing.
The power of doing nothing at the moment is immense. You have to settle down, watch your thoughts, just sit down and think about what’s going on.
Feel relaxed, don’t start worrying or thinking too hard about the future or past. Be in the present. Spend time with yourself in your own mind.
Take A Nap Time To Recharge Your Energy Levels
Napping is a skill in its own that you need to develop in order to fully optimize it for increasing your productivity at work.
There are many people who do not prefer to nap during the day. It is because a lot of people complain how tired or hungover they feel when they wake up.
So you have to be careful with nap time during working hours. As per the research, the ideal sleep time for napping should be 10 minutes to 20 minutes.
This is called power nap which has tremendous benefits such as increased mental performance, refershness, boost in alterness and great energy levels.
So here how you should take a power nap :
- You need to look for a place that is quiet, cozy and dark as much as possible.
- Set a timer in your smartphone for 25 minutes, taking some extra time as it takes some time for you to fall asleep.
- Just lay down, relax and don’t try too hard to sleep.
- Try to be relaxed, don’t think too much and slow down you breath
- As the alarm wakes you up, get up 20-25 minutes later , all refreshed!
Napping,as we said earlier is a skill that you will get better at with practise and then it can become a part of your work culture.
A lot of high-perfoming individuals prefer to get a power name during the daytime.
To even make your naptime better, make sure to drink some coffee beforehand, maybe like 15-20 minutes earlier.
An espresso shot will help you wake up naturally refreshed and not sluggish or hung over. Also, you will feel even better as the caffeine enters your bloodstream.
Take A Sauna or Steam Bath
If you are indulging in a long project to complete and working over hours in your office or workspace, you need to relieve some work stress.
Taking a sauna or steam bath in the office is only possible if you have an office facilitating the features to their efficient employees.
Same goes for the fact, if you work in a co-working space, it must have excellent sauna bath amenities to enjoy at the middle of the day.
It relaxes your muscles and relieves stiffness in your body for long-sitting hours. You will feel more relaxed and calm after a sauna or steam bath.
This is only going to boost your productivity as you feel fresh to re-start working again with more efficiency and focus.
Deep breathing practises and exercise helps reach more oxygen to your brain keeping it calm and active.
It is a brain-boosting practise that you should do in your work breaks every day, especially if you are getting too stressed out.
This is different from meditation as you can even do it anywhere. However, I preferred to be sitting at the spot.
Breathe IN and Breathe OUT! You can have different breathing exercises that you can pull off just in 5 minutes.
Doing it every day between the work will give you tremendous results, not momentarily but overall.
Here are few deep breathing exercising ideas :
- Inhale as much air as you can from your noise, hold back, bring it to your stomach and wait for a few seconds and slowly breathe out through your mouth.
- Just simply Breathe in through your nose and Breathe out through your mouth. Take as much air as possible and breathe out slowly.
Deep breathing helps your mind get relaxed and focussed. It is also a great way to deal with restlessness, anxiety and panic.
Listen to a Guided Meditation
Starting with meditation on your own can be difficult, especially at work. It is one of the best ways to take a break from your work to boost your productivity.
Even after a few days of regular meditation breaks at work, you will see dramatic changes in yourself and your work efficiency levels.
It relieves your muscle tension, relaxes your mind and helps you collect your thoughts for a while.
So rather than just sitting down for 10-15 minutes clueless and not really able to reach anywhere in meditation, better opt for guided meditation.
You will need a headset or earphone. Just close your eyes, put your earphones in and follow the guided meditation.
It helps you to get into mediation zone easier through guided voice and instructrctions to follow.
Give Yourself A Pinkie Brain Break
This is one of the best ideas to boost your productivity and increase your creative juices. It helps you get distracted from the current problem and get relaxed.
Here are the steps you need to it :
- Take your left hand and lift your fingers and thumb up.
- Now, use your right hand and put all the fingers except the pinkie. Just put your left thumb up and right hand pinky out.
- Now switch the roles of your hands.
- And keep doing it faster and faster.
It is great for developing coordination and concentration and gives you a fun break from your work.
Eat An Apple Slowly
When you are having an extremely busy and consumed day, feel a bit agitated and on the edge, this is the break you need.
And you would need just a 5-minuts break to do this. All you have to do is get an apple to eat or any other fruit for that matter
The only difference is you need to do it very slowly. Cut your apples slowly, notice the texture of the fruit and enjoy the flavor in your mouth.
Keep it at a slow pace, and it surely will feel quite weird and even frustrating for a few days. But when I gave in , it started giving a strange level of mental peace.
You wil feel much calmer, composed and less stressed. In a way, it is quite like meditation where you just involve yourself without any thought.
This is going to rejunate you and bring you to your centre. Now you would be able to make better decisions and be less rushed with your work.
Laugh Out Hard
Give some time of your day to laugh as much as you can. Some people do try to do the laugh exercise where they go “ha ha”.
But you can just watch some comedy skits, or funny videos intending to laugh out loud and have some good time.
Do not overwork yourself in this. Laughing reduces your stress levels dramatically and helps you maintain your mood all day.
Even thinking about something funny happened the other day, use that to laugh out loud.
It cancels out any other emotions two opposite emotions cannot coxist. So smile and laugh to just blow off steam.
Take A Walk
Movement can help you break the monotony in your work. It also helps you relieve some stress and stiffness in your body.
Taking a walk is one of the healthiest and productive breaks you can take in-between the work.
Just make sure you don’t have your cell phone with you as even checking phone or messages in your way.
Even listening to music or something is not recommended. Just enjoy the fresh air outside, look around and enjoy the sense of freedom.
This is a perfect solution for work fatigue or getting restless due to sitting for one place for a long time.
It will charge up your brain to work faster. Try to walk faster and put some work to your body while on the way.
It must increase your heartbeats and give you some sweat and excitement rebooting your mind to get to work again.
Stretching out is a great alternative for going for a walk outside, especially if you cannot for some reason.
Just leave your desk, get some free space or even just sit at the side of your desk.
Stretching your body is nothing that you should hesitate to do even if you are working in the full room of other employees.
Stretching your body gives you some great pleasure, especially relieving from all the stiffness in your body.
It will make your body prepared to sit even longer and increase your work time efficiency.
Otherwise, without giving yourself some kind of physical stretch, your body is going to get tired and all stiff in a very short time.
Here are some simple stretching exercise you can do at workplace :
- Lift your arms up and look at your palms with strongly planted feet on the ground.
- Try to touch the eiling with your fingers to straighten up or stretch your spine for about 30 to 60 seconds, slowly increase the pressure.
- Lift your arm, move it towards your feet and try to touch it.
Do Something Artistic
Creativity beats boredom and stress. Make your short breaks into a creativity time where you get yourself some fun and creative things to do.
It can be sketching out some funny cartoon or just doodling. You can draw things in your surroundings.
You can also write a short poem and share it with other co-workers and office friends.
If you are into photography, take some creative angles of your office in photos through your smartphone.
Just doing something creative in nature breaks you from the monotonous work. It will recharge your brain and boost your productivity.
Read A Book
You can have a book you’re reading with you at your workplace and start reading at your breaks.
First of all, in this way, you will be able to finish the book early and get down more books in the week and month.
And, it will give you pleasure to not think about anything. It will give you a break from taking decisions or working your brain too much.
In fact, reading a book is an immersive experience for a reader who will feel relaxed, indulged and more focussed.
Book reading in itself is a great practise to increase your focus and concentration towards a work.
Make sure it should be something that you really enjoy and love to read, and not something that needs too much of afterthought.
Drinking water actually is very much connected with your brain and its functioning.
Even if you are half a liter dehydrated, you are more likely to get stressed. So drinking water helps you relax and re-energize yourself for the task.
It hydrates your body and soothes it. Drinking water helps your body function at its best.
It is the simplest thing you can do in very short breaks from work. Make sure you get yourself a full glass of water or even more.
Drinking water also prevents you from feeling sleepy and sluggish at your work.
Just Do Your Guilty Pleasure
As we have learned about how planned distraction can improve productivity and reduce the chances of deteriorating focus for the long-term.
So you can use distractions that are unproductive on their own but still make you productive at work such as checking social media etc.
This is very much along the same lines. Instead of getting more pressure or attention to your mind, you can relax it with your guilty pleasure.
Since it is a guilty pleasure, you won’t have to think twice or hesitate. Just do whatever makes you feel good for the moment.
It can be drinking latte, or getting that chocolate sprinkle doughnut, or watching funny videos or anything.
Everything is usually fine in moderation and in this case of short breaks, it works perfectly.
After doing it, you will be filled with freshness and again get ready to work hard for a while.
Writing Your Thoughts or Journaling
Writing your thoughts or your observations or anyting that you feel makes you feel relaxed, calm and composed.
Journaling is indeed therapeutic in nature. It helps you to see your thoughts through, and focus only on the things that matter.
It is definitely something one ideally does in the morning or the night before, but you can carry a notebook to write down your thoughts in the office breaks as well.
It can be about anything you are feeling right now or just about something you observed.
It is creative, feel-good and kind of self-therapy with some long-term benefits of self-improvement as well.
According to an article published in Geogia tech, people who have been reported with more daydreaming appear to have more creative ability and intellect.
They also have a more efficient brain system when measured in the MRI machine.
If you don’t know, daydreaming is thinking visually about random things or situations in your life.
This can be a great way to take your break where you have some creative fun as well with the increase in your producvity and creative juices.
It also works tremendously as it helps the brain rest and settle down from all the heavy lifting done at the work.
However, daydreaming while working is definitely counter-productive and counts as a distraction.
But you schedule it to do it in a particular time-frame, that is in the breaks. Just have some coffee, sit, relax and dream about something you like a lot.
Talk To Your Co-workers or Friends
Gossiping is not a productive way to take breaks. That is what we are sure of !
But talking to someone about constructive things or just sharing about yourself makes you feel good and relaxed.
Especially when you are working for hours, it is better to have a human connection and relate to another.
This person can be a co-worker that you have a great understanding with and share common wavelengths or can be your friend on call as well.
Make sure your friend also has a break or is free to talk to you. You can also call at your home, talk to your wife, mother, father or kids.
This will make you feel less stressed about the work. You get to just talk to people you like, giving your brain a rest from all the work.
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Carol T. Mahaffey is a certified American Author And a creator of Theleaderboy. Carol is a Self-Taught Marketer with 10+ Years of Experience. She brings her decade of experience to her current role, where she is dedicated to writing books, blogs, and articles, inspiring the world on how to become a better Leader.