Have you been working for hours without standing up or even looking away from your screen? Being too busy to take a break could be worse for our productivity than we may realize.
When we perform repetitive tasks or sit in the same position for too long, it can take a severe toll on our body and our ability to focus. Experts recommend taking a break every 75-90 minutes for around 15-minutes.
Why so frequently? The reason for this is that our brain has two modes, learning/focusing, and consolidation. Taking regular breaks helps our brain to understand better and retain information it's recently received.
So, a simple stretch of the legs, a quick game of fetch with your dog, or simply walking down the road to get a green juice will work wonders when it comes to clearing your head, retaining information, and staying productive.
Still not convinced? To help tear you away from your screen (after you've read this blog post, of course), we share the top five benefits of adding regular breaks into your busy working day, as gleaned from Psychology Today.
Five Ways a Break Can Help Your Body and Mind
- Keeps You Moving
"Movement breaks" have been well-researched in terms of benefitting physical and emotional health, as well as mitigating risks of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. They say sitting is the new smoking, so instead of putting your feet up and scrolling through Instagram, get up and move.
This way, you're giving both your brain and body a proper break. Sitting at your desk for lengthy periods of time also puts a huge amount of strain on your neck and back, for example. Moving your body will help relieve tension and reduce the discomfort that could lead to long-term injuries.
- Prevents Decision Fatigue
Fortunately, breaks can also prevent the dreaded "decision fatigue" from occurring. In a famous study, Israeli judges were more likely to grant parole to prisoners after their two daily breaks than after they had been working for a while.
As decision fatigue set in, the rate of granting paroles gradually dropped to near 0% because judges resorted to the easiest and safest option—just say no. Decision fatigue can lead to simplistic decision-making and procrastination.
- Restores Motivation
Breaks have also proven to improve performance. Studies suggest that prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance. Psychology professor Alejandro Lleras says, "From a practical standpoint when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!"
- Improves Creativity
Taking time away from work leads to an increase in productivity and creativity, as the lack of breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion.
So that trip to the water cooler or casual chat with a coworking mate refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative.
Do you ever have your best ideas in the shower or on a walk? That's because "Aha moments" come more often to those who take breaks.
- Waking Rest
Have you heard of waking rest? This helps to consolidate memories and improve learning. Scientists know that one purpose of sleep is to consolidate memories, and evidence also shows that resting while awake likewise improves memory formation. During a rest period, it appears that the brain reviews and ingrains what it previously learned.
When Not to Take a Break
Sometimes there are times when it's best not to take a break. These include:
- When you are in a state of "flow." Flow is characterized by complete absorption in the task, seemingly effortless concentration, and pleasure in the task itself.
- Or when you are simply enjoying what you are doing may be a sign that you still have plenty of energy for your current activity.
Cross Campus: Flexible Office Space, Los Angeles
As a flexible workspace, Cross Campus is all about taking productive breaks to help reset and re-energize you during your working hours.
So much so that we implement social hour at our Cross Campus in the afternoons. Just taking a break and chatting to other workers helps in more ways than one.
Plus, all of our flexible workspaces offer yoga, stretching, and meditation rooms, and outdoor space in addition to plenty of room to take a walk, even if just to the kitchen for a complimentary snack!
Looking for a flexible office space, Los Angeles? Cross Campus has everything you need and more. To find out more or visit one of our L.A locations, visit our website today.