Time off work is crucial for everyone. Even the special effects artists and fortune-cookie writers of this world need a break once in a while. Your dream job will become a nightmare if you don’t make time for yourself and spend time with loved ones. And, your productivity will take a major hit. The top ten percent of productive employees tend to take a 17 minute break for every 52 minutes spent working.
Even a little time off can make a big difference. Have you ever spent seven hours on something one day, only to have the same task take two hours another day? Well, it might be you need a consistent schedule of breaks to make your brain work.
Regular movement is important
Spending hours and hours at a desk without moving is something that you know, intuitively, is bad for you. Says the hypocritical copywriter.
In a recent study, it was found that ‘bouts of inactivity that lasted on average 12.4 minutes or more had a risk of death almost twice that of those who were inactive for an average of less than 7.7 minutes at a time.’
You can’t work if you’re dead. And, exercise improves your mental health, alertness and can help reduce your risk of getting ill, all of which will improve your work productivity. It literally helps you retain brain cells as you grow older.
You must pay attention to your needs
Taking a break to get a drink, go to the bathroom or spend time talking to a colleague makes all the difference. For example, even a ‘one percent decrease in total body water content can negatively affect our cognitive ability and mood.’ Dehydration slows your functionality and leaves you feeling tired, irritable and less creative.
Happiness improves productivity
There’s nothing like a constant grind for wearing down even the most optimistic individual. If you’re a manager or business owner, encouraging your employees to do something they enjoy during the work day, like playing a game, reading a book or going outside, will not only make them happy, but productive as well.
You’re not doing nothing, you’re processing information
Study after study on cognitive psychology shows that human beings need to process information. We don’t just react to stimulation; we store it, digest it and then use it. And sometimes, your brain needs to do something else while it’s processing something in the background.
Have you ever been grappling with a problem only to find you have the answer when you wake up? It’s not just that you were tired the previous day and you’re more awake now. Your brain has literally been working on the problem subconsciously.
Time off work hits the reset button
Whether it’s small breaks throughout the day, or a two-week holiday in Croatia, time off is vital to productivity. For the sake of both yourself, other employees and the business as a whole, you need to reframe breaks and time off as conscious, deliberate tools for productivity, not barriers in the way of it.