When we’re busy at work, it can often be difficult to find time to take a break. With so much to do, we convince ourselves that the longer we keep working the more we’ll get done. If only that were true!
Recently, the Draugiem Group, a social networking company, used a time-tracking productivity app to see the habits of their most productive employees. They found that the 10% of employees with the highest productivity took regular breaks, 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work. Makes you think doesn't it?
So how can we make sure we take the breaks we need? Here are my top tips:
- Schedule regular breaks. Treat this time like you would any other meeting and schedule it in your calendar. Of course you can choose not to take it but if the ‘meeting’ pings up on your computer screen there is a greater chance that you will step away from your desk.
- Look after each other. If you work as part of a team the likelihood is you will have similar working habits. Talk about the need for breaks and how and when you are going to take them. Encourage each other to take them; it’s all part of being a good work mate.
- Find a reason. As most of us work on busy sprawling campuses there is often a valid reason for getting up and moving around; whether it’s going to a meeting, delivering the post or going to see a colleague. Use this time as a reason for taking a break.
- Short rather than long. Shorter, more regular breaks are more effective than one longer one although any break is better than none.
- Leave the technology behind. As tempting as it might be to take your phone or tablet with you when you take a break, DON’T. Leave them behind and resist the temptation to look at any social media. By doing so you really are giving your body and your mind time to switch off and wander free.
Simple tips I know but difficult to follow through when we are busy. The good news is that it is almost the weekend and I would like to think that we will all be taking a well-deserved break.