Leadership & Strategy | June 27, 2016

The Importance of Taking Breaks
coffee break

With today’s “plugged in” culture, it’s easier than ever to find yourself falling into workaholic patterns. Company laptops, smartphones, and an intense work environment all contribute to the feeling that you can’t ever truly clock out. Otherwise, you may miss an important email or phone call. For managers and entrepreneurs, that feeling can be even more intense.

While many are afraid to interrupt the flow of productivity, studies have demonstrated the importance of taking breaks at work. You might be productive for a little while. However, if you don’t get away from your computer and recharge your batteries occasionally, your brain will eventually start slogging and your creativity and productivity will tank.

A break could be as simple as:

  • Eating lunch
  • Taking a walk
  • Stretching
  • Performing another, less sedentary task, such as cleaning the kitchenette

Regardless of what activity you choose, moving around and taking a step back from your work for a little while is important.

Here are a few benefits you might notice if you start making time for breaks during the workday:

Restored Focus

After working on something for a while, your brain tends to lose focus, and your thoughts start to wander. This happens because your brain gets fatigued, causing you to have to fight to maintain your focus.

By taking a short break about once every hour, your brain will have some downtime. This will allow it to recharge its batteries, and ultimately help you maintain your focus over the course of the workday.

Increased Creativity

When your brain is so tired that you have to work harder just to pay attention, there simply isn’t any energy left for creative thinking. Forcing yourself to keep plugging away denies yourself the opportunity to put some distance between yourself and your work.

Instead, get up from your computer periodically. Stepping back from your work and thinking about it for a little bit gives you an overall view that’s not possible when you’re chained to your desk.

Enhanced Productivity

You’re probably familiar with the feeling that it takes a little bit of warming up before you hit your groove. What you might not be aware of is how your productivity drops as your brain becomes fatigued from the sustained pace.

Don’t be afraid of pausing your momentum to take a break every once in a while. While it seems like the interruption might slow you down, the truth is it’ll take you less time to “warm up” again than it will to recover from brain burnout.

Improved Health

We know the impact that sedentary jobs have on our health, yet when it comes down to it; most people still sit at their desks for hours straight. Fitness studies show the importance of taking breaks at work, and show that a “brain break” actually benefits your body just as much, if not more.

Movement helps you:

  • To stay limber
  • Prevent back and neck pain
  • Improve circulation

And if you go for a walk or climb stairs on your breaks, the exercise is as good for your physical health as it is for your focus, creativity, and productivity.

Is your brain still telling you it’s better to just keep working? Don’t listen, stop and take a break as you are aware of the importance of taking breaks.

Increase Productivity

Besides taking time for breaks, your relationships at work can also have a positive or negative influence on productivity. Read more on how to build strong relationships at work.