Have you ever worked so long and hard that by the end of the day you are so tired and are unable to do anything afterwards. I’ve been there. I usually find it that later in the day when I work a long day or even a regular day without a break I get easily distracted, tired, worn out, and much less productive. I find it very valuable to take breaks during the work day. There are days where it can be challenging to take a break because we are so busy during the day. However, from my own personal observation and experience, I notice that if I don’t take a break, I am much less productive overall and have a greater need to recover the next day and so on.
Personally for me, it is difficult to focus on any one thing for an extended period of time. I need to switch from task to task at times and then revisit the task at a later date and realize that after I return to the task, I am much more effective completing the task. I know this to be true based on my personal experience, but there are other proven theories that prove this very well.
One well known theory is the Pomodoro Technique, which involves setting a timer for a specified amount of time to work and then set the timer for a specified amount of time to take a break. For example, you can work for 50 minutes, then take 10 minutes off, then reset over and over again through your working period. This way you know you have to focus when working is on and then you can take your breaks without guilt and be refreshed enough to work for another focused period of time. The amount of time for each segment is up to you, 25 minutes on & then 5 minutes off can work well. I’ve heard of 42 minutes on, 18 minutes off, 45 minutes on and 15 minutes off, and even 55 minutes on and 5 minutes off. You do not have to stick to one method either, you can go based on what your needs are for the day. Maybe on a day you really have a lot to do 55 on and 5 off is better, and the break times can be longer on calmer days. Like all other time management strategies, the best strategy is the one that works for you.
Other ways taking breaks can help you become more productive is that they can reduce your stress level, can bring you more energy, allowing you step away and come back with a fresh perspective, and it is also good for your health. Sitting for long periods of time is not physically good for you, it is very important to get up and walk around and “get the blood pumping.” While taking breaks is helpful, you do also want to make sure you find the right length of time. A break that is too long will get you off track and can be detrimental because you then lose focus and have trouble getting it back. I’ve done that before as well. This can be similar to taking a nap, a nap too long can throw you off track also. Like everything else, finding the best way to take breaks is going to take practice and a lot of trial and error, but the end result will be worth it.