Why taking a break should be a vital part of your day.
Who remembers those afternoon playtime’s you used to get back in primary school? A great time for children to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. Well, it turns out that it’s not only children that should be getting these short breaks. Being only human, and therefore an animal, we were not designed to focus on singular tasks for prolonged periods of time. Our senses are design to constantly scan for danger and any signs of change, not to read over that 100 page contract you’ve drawn up or the 3,000 word article you’ve been staring at for the past 4 hours. Thankfully improving your concentration on your task is simple. Take a break! We’re not saying have a 2 hour nap or give your desk that long awaited Spring Clean, something as simple as looking at pictures of cute baby animals would do.
We’re not saying have a 2 hour nap or give your desk that long awaited Spring Clean.
You have emails that need replying to, an overdue report and a colleague nagging you to sort that next payment out. You don’t have time to take a break. Well, taking a short break of anything up to 5 minutes can actually increase your capability to focus on the task at hand by an average of 13%. With this in mind that means that you can get all your tasks done faster and more efficiently than if you just try to power on through it. Studies have shown that regular, short breaks can increase your productivity by up to 11%. So, really, if you want to get those tasks done efficiently and effectively then the best way to do this is to take breaks.
Now you want to get your breaks in and make your day the most productive you can, so you should plan your breaks according to when you’re most going to need them. A report by the Daily Mail shows that after surveying workers they found that the most unproductive time of the day is 2.55pm and that after 3pm is when people start to plan their evenings. So, if you’re going to plan any longer breaks, plan them for 2.55pm. This break from work will stop you from feeling guilty about that post-lunch lull and also help you to get back on focus for the rest of the afternoon. If you’re feeling sleepy, go for a walk. If you need a pick-me-up why not get a cup of coffee and a biscuit? Or, if you’re wanting to get your blood pumping, do some crunches or star jumps.
But if none of these take your fancy and you need some social interaction, play a game. Here at MoJo we take 5 minutes every day at 2.55pm to get up from our desks, move away from our work and play a game that involves everyone. One of our favourite games to play is ‘Guess Who’ where everyone is assigned a card with a name on that they have to hold to their forehead and ask everyone else yes or no questions about who they are until they get the person. This game gets your creative thinking going and takes your mind away from any tasks you may have been trying to complete beforehand, giving you that well needed rest. Or if you’re looking for something that requires less preparation, play a game of tossing the coin and make it an elimination game where one person guesses and another tosses the coin and the first to three wins.
We’re always looking for new games to play here in the office on our 5 minute breaks. We would love to hear any suggestions that you have or how this has helped so feel free to send us a tweet or drop us a message, we would love to hear your thoughts!