How to Take a Productive Work Break
Imagine this: you’re plugging away at work, taking Zoom calls and holding meetings, building presentations and checking emails when suddenly…..you crash. Your productivity and momentum comes to a screeching halt and you just need a break. It happens! And science would say it’s totally normal.
Studies have shown that the average person's attention span is really short. Like, 8 seconds short. If that didn’t shock you, a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds. We also know that we only have capacity to work efficiently for 90 minutes before needing a break.
Before you give in to scrolling Instagram or checking personal emails and qualifying it as a break, consider our ideas below on how to take productive work breaks:
1. Leave your desk for lunch
We implemented a rule at the Hollis Co long ago that staff is not allowed to eat lunch at their desks. This was true when we worked in an office and remains true as we work together virtually. (We encourage staff to put a food icon next to their Slack name to indicate to other team members not to ping us during lunch!) Why? Because we know the value of working hard AND living well. Other than an actual fire, there is nothing that cannot wait until after you’ve had your lunch unplugged.
2. Explore the Great Outdoors
Get your Vitamin D on midday by taking a quick walk around your neighborhood. The fresh air and sunshine will recharge your spirit to tackle the rest of your day. In a quarantine working world, get creative and take a “walking meeting” for conference calls or meetings that don’t require data on your computer.
3. Dance it out!
A productive work break can be five minutes long if that’s all your busy schedule allows. The important thing is you’re taking a break to reset and refocus. We love to do that by getting up out of our chairs and having a dance party for one to our favorite pump up jam! Will you feel silly? Yes. Will you feel better afterwards? Absolutely. The next time you feel a mid-day slump approaching, try it out!
We know it’s tempting to feel like you just don’t have the time in your work day to incorporate a break but hear this: you will be more productive (and more joyful!) if you carve out intentional time to remember that you are more than a machine. You’re a human being with everyday needs and sometimes that looks like a well-deserved break! Go ahead and take five.