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Could More Breaks Make You More Productive?

By Sandy Schroeder

When our calendars start to load up, and we resort to different colors to highlight the big stuff, most of us just run faster and work harder, but that may not be the best choice.

Daniel H. Pink says taking a break, or several of them, can actually make you more productive. His new book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing tells us why the breaks are so crucial.

According to Pink, current research shows we do better work, feel happier, and become more creative, when we take more breaks. Pink told GQ, “I started thinking about breaks as part of my performance, not as a deviation from my performance, and you should too.”

So How Do We Define Breaks?

Pink says scrolling through your Instagram feed or replying to text messages does not really count as a fully detached break. Instead, you should stand up and step away from your phone and computer for a few minutes or longer if you can swing it. Going outside or simply taking time to water a desk plant counts, too. The idea is to detach partially or completely to make it a real break.

Work circumstances vary, but finding ways to disconnect may be well worth the effort. Many of us get so into the work groove that we carry the work with us mentally, or stick around for way too many hours. Others simply live with their electronics around the clock.

How They Could Work for You

Think about your situation and consider ways to add mini, medium-sized, or really big breaks. Mini breaks could be as easy as standing up and doing a few stretches. Medium-sized breaks could mean shutting off your phone at lunch and taking a short walk. Larger breaks could be an afternoon off, a weekend away, or a real live vacation!

I have to admit I was really envious when I went to my yoga class this week and the instructor beamed as she said there would be no class next week because she and her family were going to be in Hawaii. Now’s that what I call a break!

If you know you tend to get too involved for too many hours, only to lose your spark, and often collapse later, Pink’s idea might be worth a shot. I am going to check out his book and find out more about “the art of perfect timing.” 

If the idea appeals to you, start posting reminder notes on your monitor, carrying your sneakers or yoga mat to work, or set an alert on your phone signaling a break. Whatever works.

If someone asks you what you are doing, you can always say you are doing research about productivity.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Tampa, Fla

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