As much as you’d love to be a productivity machine, you are not superhuman. Scheduling in time to take breaks throughout your day is important.
Breaks are crucial to maintaining productivity as well as creating more! There is no shame in giving your mind and body a break. It is not a sign of weakness. Breaks are important to parts of your day.
Humans are cyclical beings. Your attention span has its limits. No matter how well you think you can focus.
You only have about and hour and a half before your mind begins to wander. Not taking a break after 90 minutes can cause distraction, irritation, and stress. Don’t try to push yourself past your natural attention span.
Signs you need a break
There are also several signs that indicate it might be time for a break.
- nervous energy,
- getting distracted by outside forces easily,
- zoning out or daydreaming,
- getting frustrated when something does not work out immediately,
- making silly mistakes,
- feeling eye fatigue.
These are all physical indications you are wearing yourself out.
When you realize it is time for a break, take one. Get out of your chair and stretch, walk around, get some coffee, water, or tea, use the restroom, say hi to a co-worker.
Make your break from working something simple and easy that you can do quickly that can also reset you! Your breaks should not be stressful or intense, so do not try to cram something into a five-minute break if it does not fit.
After a short break, anywhere from five to twenty minutes, is beneficial to help your brain and mind prepare for another hour and a half. But you have to take a true break.
What does that mean?
Your break needs to be unrelated to attention. Don’t shift over to a different task to take a break from another. That defeats the purpose.
Take your eyes away from whatever you’re doing, change the view, play a game, have a snack, get some water, make some tea, go for a quick walk.
Allow your system to reboot and you’ll find yourself feeling refreshed when you come back to the task at hand.
The Pomodoro method is an effective time management system that will help you see how much time you’re spending on tasks. It also has built in timed breaks that allow you to recharge your mental attention.
This method breaks down your day into 25-minute sections with planned and timed breaks.
Here is how it works.
At the start of a task or project, set a timer for 25 minutes. Once the timer goes off, you get to have a five-minute break! Once the five minutes are up, you set the timer for another 25 minutes!
You can set the timer for as long as you want and then take a break for as long as you want.)
At the end of each 25-minute session, you get a five-minute break. After 4 cycles, (four 25-minute work periods and four 5- minute breaks,) you get to take a 20 to 30-minute break.
The Pomodoro technique is very helpful for people who struggle with time management. Not only because the Pomodoro technique helps to section out your day, but also because after the timer goes off you can see how much work you’ve completed in that time. Maybe you notice patterns about your work. Maybe you realize this task is taking longer than you expected.
You only have five minutes between Pomodoro sessions. That is not the time to try to cook or eat a main meal. There simply isn’t enough time and rushing to finish is stressful. You’ll still be hungry too.
Grab a snack instead.
Appropriate breaks that switch your mind off work will help you feel refreshed. The Pomodoro technique is one way to ensure you have set breaks throughout your day.
I will take mini breaks throughout my day.
I am worthy of taking care of my mind and body.
I take care of myself.
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