For people who passionately want to get work done, taking breaks is probably the last thing they want to hear.
And I will give it to you straight, without mincing words, that you need to take breaks. And here is why.
Our bodies and minds are wired to constantly need rest. And when there is no adequate rest, it breaks down.
That is the simple reason.
Think about a time you had a long day at work and you felt exhausted. Do you remember how you were so tired you could barely think about what was going on around you or how your day went as you sank into your bed to sleep?
That’s exactly what happens when you are exhausted. And because we are constantly doing something or expected to do something, it is important not to always get to that exhausted stage at the end of a work day and the way to achieve that is to take breaks at intervals.
The Art of Taking Breaks: The 30 Minutes Rule
You can try the 30 minutes rule. If you have 5 hours to do a particular work, take a 30-minutes break for every 1-hour work done. What this does is that it gives you time to replenish the strength you have wasted in 1 hour of using your body and mind.
There is this lose weight app that helps with exercises you can do to lose weight. I got a stronger understanding of the art of taking breaks from this app.
What it does is it allows you to do the exercises in smaller batches.
When you do one exercise in 20-30 seconds, you take a rest/break for 20 seconds, before going to the next exercise.
What this does is it allows you to take a rest and recover your strength so you can do better in the next exercise.
You can also practice this in other areas of your life, like your work, your chores, etc.
Now you should know that this is not limited to 30 minutes. It is just a recommendation. You can take a shorter break, especially if your work is time sensitive.
Let’s look at some things you can do during your break.
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The Art of Taking Breaks: What to do During your Break
While you were reading this, you were probably wondering what you would do if you decided to take my advice and go on a break. Well, I will help you out.
Here is a list of things you can do during your break that will help you maximize your break time.
- Take a nap: This is the top on our list. Naps are a great way to rejuvenate your body and mind. However, ensure you set an alarm to wake you up when it’s time to get back to work, or you might find yourself waking up at the wrong hour.
- Take a walk: This is one of the best ways to get yourself out of a work rut. If you find yourself struggling to get work done or you are unable to get out of your head as you work, then this is the time to take a break and take a walk. The cool breeze and the surroundings will trigger your creativity and also calm your mind. This will enable you to work better when you go back to work. You should try it out.
- Catch up with friends: Call a friend and catch up with them on the latest happening in your lives. This will give you time to bond and take your mind off the stress of work.
- Check social media: Who doesn’t need an opportunity to check the latest gist on Twitter, funny memes on Instagram, or a viral video on TikTok? You can use your break as an opportunity to indulge in social media a little. But ensure you don’t get carried away so much that you cannot get back to work.
You should also read: 10 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Get Things Done
- Watch an episode of a series or a movie: Sometimes, I use my break to watch a movie or complete an episode of a series that has been on my mind. You can try this too.
The point of doing these things is to get your mind off the stress of work. When you do this for a while, you will feel strengthened to get back to work.
If there is something you love doing that helps you reduce stress, you can add this to your list.
When Not to Take a Break
It is very easy to assume you should take breaks every time just because it is good for you. But there are some times you should not take breaks and those times are:
- When you have urgent or time-sensitive work to do.
- When you know taking a break is an excuse to procrastinate on what you have to do.
- When you are trying to avoid an important thing you should do.
If your reason for taking a break is an excuse to avoid what you have to do, then you should finish your work first before taking a break.
You can try the reward technique.
If you are trying to get time-sensitive work done and you desperately need a break, try promising yourself to do that thing after you are done with work.
E.g You want to see a movie but you need to submit an important work in an hour’s time. Promise yourself to finish the work first and then reward yourself with the movie.
It works every time. It is simply tricking your pleasure-loving mind to expect something it loves at the end of an important exertion.
The Art of Taking Breaks: Taking Breaks vs Procrastination
Just like I mentioned earlier, it is possible you assume you’re taking breaks when you are actually procrastinating. Ensure you are taking breaks for the right reasons and not because you are trying to avoid your work.
Ensure you are also disciplined enough to know when break time is over and it is time to get back to work.
Related blog post: The Ultimate Tip to Overcoming Procrastination
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