Taking short breaks during the day is one of the most vital activities to maintain your energy, focus, and to keep your level of productivity high.
Most people have the wrong idea by thinking that in order to be more productive, they need to keep working without taking breaks. To these people, breaks are a waste of time.
However, is this really the truth?
According to this article from Forbes, written by the famous productivity guru, Kevin Kruse, says that human naturally move from full focus and energy to physiological fatigue every 90 minutes.
Kruse mentioned that we need to purposely take short breaks every 90 minutes throughout the day to maintain our level of productivity.
In my previous article, The Importance of Taking a Short Break According to Research, I wrote that our willpower and energy to focus work like a muscle. We can experience fatigue and lack of energy if we go on without taking a break.
If you want to understand why taking short breaks is important, read the article.
And in today’s article, I’m going to share with you some of the most popular methods how you can take a short break during the day to recharge your energy, replenish your willpower, and to maintain your productivity at an optimal level.
When to Take a Short Break?
So how do you know when you should take a break? Well, sometimes you will just know because your body and mind are tired and you will feel it.
And sometimes, we need to purposefully schedule breaks into our days so that we have time to recharge and replenish our energy.
1. The natural pauses
One of the best moment to stop your work and take a short break is to look for natural pauses. Just pay close attention to the natural rhythm of your average workday.
There will be times when you feel difficult to focus and sluggish. You will feel like you can’t concentrate at all and you keep losing your focus. Perhaps, this is the signal that your body sends you to tell you to take a break.
Hence, pay attention to your natural rhythm and take a short break when necessary. Your body will give you a signal on this.
2. Follow the Pomodoro Technique
One good productivity hack is to use the Pomodoro Technique. It is a simple method where you work for 25 minutes and take a short 5 minutes break.
And after 4 sessions, go for a longer break like 15 to 30 minutes. This will ensure that you are getting enough rest and breaks so that you can maintain your focus and energy level high.
The best part is that you don’t have to strictly follow the time frame as suggested by the Pomodoro Technique. You can customize the method according to your own preferences.
For instance, rather than working for 25 minutes, you can work for 40 or 50 minutes and then take a 5 or 10 minutes break.
The key is to have time for breaks so that you create buffers for your mind to recharge.
3. Schedule your breaks
If you think that the Pomodoro Technique is not ideal for you, do this instead, schedule your breaks.
The key is to force yourself to purposefully take a break.
For instance, you can schedule a short 15 or 30 minutes break every day at around 3:30PM. And during this time, you will do nothing but rest and relax your body and mind.
Ever wonder why we have breaks in schools? It is meant to recharge the children’s energy and so that they can focus better after the break.
4. Take your lunch break
If you think that you are too busy to go for a lunch break, think again. Lunch break may not really be about having the meal, but it is also a great time for a short getaway and to relax.
Thus, try not to skip your lunch break. Even if you are not feeling hungry or you don’t think that you want to eat, just go for a break.
13 Energizing Activities You Can Do When Taking Short Breaks
Now that you know why you need to take a break and how you should do it, but what should you do when taking a break?
Here are 21 great suggestions you can follow:
1. Take a walk
Taking a walk can increase your blood and flow and improve oxygen to your brain because you are moving your body. It can boost your creativity and at the same time, allow you to focus better.
Steve Jobs was famous for his walking meeting. Studies have shown that walking can increase our creativity output by 60%.
2. Eat and snacking
According to WHO, adequate nutrition can raise your productivity levels by 20% on average. In other words, what you consume can greatly affect your productivity.
Do you know sometimes you feel tired and sleepy after lunch? This is because of the food that you put into your mouth. Read this article from Buffer.com to learn when, where, and what to eat to improve your productivity.
Daydreaming and letting your mind wander to think about any random thing is another good activity as a break.
You see, when you work, you are using a lot of your mental power to think. So what should you do to let your mind rest? Daydreaming.
This article from Georgia Tech says, “Those who reported more frequent daydreaming scored higher on intellectual and creative ability and had more efficient brain systems measured in the MRI machine.”
Therefore, schedule your time to daydream. It is a good way to rest your mind and to raise your creative power.
4. Quick reading
We all know that reading is important and we should make it a habit to read. So why don’t we do it during our breaks?
If you have no idea what books to read, check out my personal recommendation here.
5. Listen to music
Music can greatly impact our mood and emotion. Listening to soft music when you are taking a break can significantly increase the effectiveness of your rest. It soothes your mood and has many health benefits as well.
6. Take a power nap
Taking a power nap is another powerful method to rest and recharge your energy. Do you know that many extraordinary people like Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, John F. Kenedy, and more, are people who took power naps during the day?
If you want to learn more about taking power naps, read this article from Michael Hyatt.
We all know that exercise is good. It can make you feel happier, give you more energy, and at the same time, improve your ability to focus when you get back to work again.
Now, you don’t have to sweat and workout like a madman, a gentle exercise in under 10 minutes can make you fully awake and bring your productivity to the next level.
Here’s a good article to read: How to Do Mini Workouts Throughout the Day for Fitness
This is truly one of the most powerful ways to relax your brain and at the same time, lower your stress and boost your focus.
Meditation has been proven by science that it is an amazing method to reduce stress, promotes emotional health, and also lengthens your attention span.
9. Get outside and get close to nature
It can be very relaxing to stop and just get outside to get close to nature. You have been locking yourself in your office and facing the computer for long hours, it can be a good idea for a short break to go outside.
However, it may not be easy to find a natural with greenery in an urban setting. Spending time in nature can relax your mood and also help improve your focus.
10. Exercise your eyes
This is especially important for those who have to face their monitor for long hours. Your eyes can feel strain after a few hours of looking at the computer screen.
And this is why it is important to stop, take a break and exercise your eyes.
Use the 20-20-20 method: every 20 minutes, take a short 20 seconds break and focus on an object that is 20 feet away from you.
11. Talk to someone
Yes, spending too much time gossiping in the pantry is a bad idea, but if you do it appropriately and not gossiping but talking about other constructive things instead, it can relax your mind and boost your productivity.
According to a study in a call center, workers who talked more to their colleagues were able to work faster, felt less stressed, and had the same approval ratings as their co-workers.
So spend a few minutes to talk to your friends or colleagues during your short breaks, it helps.
12. Plan and review your day and goals
We all know that it is important to review our plans and goals throughout the day. Thus, you can use your free time and time when you are taking the short break to do so.
This will motivate you and give you a sense of clarity of why you want to do what you do. It is a good way to use your breaks to remind yourself of your purpose and readjust your actions when necessary.
13. Have fun with social media
I believe in moderation. Too much of social media is a waste of time and it can become an addiction. But if you spend just the right amount of time on social media, it can help in making your day more productive as you feel you are connected to others.
In this article, David Ginsberg, a research scientist at Facebook writes:
“… actively interacting with people — especially sharing messages, posts and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions — is linked to improvements in well-being.
This ability to connect with relatives, classmates, and colleagues is what drew many of us to Facebook in the first place, and it’s no surprise that staying in touch with these friends and loved ones bring us joy and strengthen our sense of community.”
Spending too much time on social media is bad, but if you do it with the right amount of time, it can bring you joy and elevate your mood.
Now that you know why it is important to take breaks during the day and how you can do it.
If you think that these 13 activities are not enough and you need more ideas, I suggest you read this:
You now have even more things to do during your breaks. So you have no excuse to take a break during the day anymore.
So, how do you take your break? Let me know in the comment section below.
If you like what you read, remember to share it with others. Cheers.