Do you think the time you spend working could be used more efficiently? Do you feel guilty about taking breaks when there’s so much to be done? It might be the ambitious entrepreneur in you, but studies have shown that the more little breaks you take throughout the work day, the happier and more productive you will be.
That’s right–taking regular breaks makes you more productive, not less. Guilt no more, friends–the doctor orders that you take more productivity breaks throughout the day.
Not really sure what to do when you take these so-called productivity breaks? Here are some ideas that have been proven to boost your productivity.
You don’t have to actually jump around for this one, just get moving somehow. If you’re working at a desk most of the time and don’t get enough exercise (hey, we’re all guilty), you’re considered sedentary. Sitting for long periods impedes your blood flow, mood, and even digestion.
That’s why taking a break to ‘jump around,’ or simply stand up and stretch for a minute or two, can do wonders for your productivity at work.
We loved some of the tips Donna Kuper had on the Salesforce blog for taking more active productivity breaks at work:
- Do a series of neck rolls and shoulder shrugs
- Instead of calling or emailing a colleague, get up and walk to his or her office
- Take the stairs
- Walk on your lunch break
- Schedule walking meetings to discuss strategies for a new client or project
- Make a habit of standing while taking conference calls — or better, invest in a standing desk
- Swap your desk chair for a fitness ball a few hours each day to promote strength and balance
Be more social
At work, you do a lot of talking for business purposes, which is different than talking for social reasons. There’s a big difference between the two: Being social and interacting with friends or colleagues on your breaks boosts productivity, while communicating business tasks and work-related things does not.
If you can’t leave the office, that’s no problem. Socialize with your coworkers and colleagues during your breaks. Not only will it help you become more productive (studies have shown that the workplaces where people socialize the most are more productive), but it will also help boost your colleagues’ productivity as well. That’s a win-win!
Calling a friend or family member has a similar effect on productivity. So next time you take a quick break at work, give your best friend a call in the name of productivity!
Time for coffee
Oh, coffee–we start and punctuate our days with you. That sweet, bold elixir that coaxes even the tiredest, most grumpy person into a productive creativity factory (okay, maybe we’re exaggerating). But research has shown that drinking moderate amounts of coffee boosts productivity, and that’s a good reason to take a quick coffee break at work.
Keep a Keurig in your office, or better yet, take up donations and get one for the office kitchen so everyone can use it. Ask a friend or colleague to join you at a coffee shop for a cup. Take a quick break from work to walk to a coffee shop and get your favorite brew; or just brew some up in the office and socialize while you drink it for a double boost of productivity.
Start being mindful
Even in your busy office or in a crowded park, it’s possible to find peace through a method of meditation and thought called mindfulness. Being mindful is often equated to ‘being present,’ though there’s more to it than that. Taking productivity breaks to be mindful will give you a deep sense of peace and can make you feel happier.
To be mindful, first focus on your breath. The idea is to fade away from outside distractions at first, only experiencing what it ‘feels’ like to be. Take note of the way you feel physically and your current mental state. Do you feel happy? Worried? Anxious? Excited? Learn to name the feelings you have, then let them go as you exhale.
If you’re taking a walk, focus on each step and the way your foot interacts with the ground. If possible, slip your shoes off and feel grass under your feet. It can be helpful to keep a journal and write down your feelings before and after mindfulness meditation. Taking a break to be mindful can make you more productive at work.