How many minutes of breaks do you need each day, and for how long?
I just read this article “What to Do on 15-, 30-, and 60-Minute Breaks to Boost Productivity“. I guess when the pandemic is over there will be research on what happens to those working from home, month after month. Teachers and school leaders in Norway taught and worked from home for 2 months. I remember the relief when being able to return to my office. Just meeting my colleagues again gave me more energy. When working from home I was in endless Zoom or Teams meeting, rewarding but stressful. Draining the energy for sure. Sometimes I would schedule a 30-minute meeting with my running shoes and that helped. And when the school slowly opened up I would jog back and forth to talk to collegues. But what are the most effective way to take breaks and renew your energy? How long should they be and what should you do during your breaks? The article I read offers may example and I would like to share them with you here. Even if we are headed for the summer holiday, perhaps this is something you could revisit when you go back to work in August or September.
How often should you take a break?
- The real question here is; what is the appropriate time period of concentrated work you can do before taking a break?” Every 75 minutes seems to be the answer. That’s the period of time where you can concentrate and get a lot of work done.
- Another option is using the Pomodoro Technique, breaking extended amounts of focus into short bursts of work. This pulse-and-pause technique involves working for 25 minutes and taking a five-minute break. Developed by Francesco Cirillo, who named it after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer he used, the Pomodoro Technique works well when a single task requires your full focus.
HOW TO USE YOUR BREAK
Not all breaks are created equal, according to Northern Illinois University (NIU) assistant psychology professor Larissa Barber and NIU psychology doctoral student Amanda Conlin. “Employees tend to choose breaks that often do not work to their benefit,” they write in an article for Psychology Today. Some of the most popular breaks—like having a snack, drinking caffeine, or venting about a problem—are actually associated with more fatigue.”
5 to 15 Minutes
- To make a break effective, you need to mentally disengage from work thoughts.
- Any type of movement is going to yield positive returns, such as heightened creativity and focused insights. Small breaks with meditation or mindfulness. Little breaks like this keep your mind energized, and they can lead to those ‘aha!’ moments of creative insight.”
- Stare out of the window, but that is most effective when you looked at nature study tells us. Lucky to live in Norway then I guess. University of Melbourne
- If you’ve got a half hour, take a brisk walk, Sitting at a desk for hours at a time can decrease your energy level.
- Participate in some form of exercise. “It’s no secret that regular exercise improves our metabolism and increases energy levels,” Up and down stairs, a power walk or a bike ride will do.
- Decluttering your workspace can be a good break, our clutter sends the message to yourself and others that you’re overwhelmed and not in control.
- Organize your thoughts in writing, that helps with stress when you have a big project approaching
- Or take a break from screens and read. Reading a novel, in particular, can relieve stress more than listening to music, taking a walk, or having a cup of tea, according to a study from the University of Sussex. Reading lowers your heart rate and eases muscle tension, helping you relax and escape your worries. This one goes to all the librarians we know!