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The Science of Taking Breaks: Boost Your Productivity and Well-Being

It should come as no surprise that the expectations for many sales and marketing professionals are growing. We’re faced with rapidly changing technology, budgetary challenges, and a growing number of mediums and channels… all of which could be killing us as we sit in our chairs longer staring at screens.

In recent years, I’ve made significant changes to my lifestyle. I exercise regularly, I eat well, I meditate/pray, and I take a lot more breaks away from my desk. I’ve even invested in better prescription lenses that filter out blue light.

On any given day, you’ll find me walking down my block during client phone calls or taking some time out during the day to work in my yard. While that sounds like I’m taking a break from work… it’s actually quite the opposite. That time away from putting out fires enables me to digest my work, and prioritize my day. It may seem counterintuitive, but this has increased my productivity… not reduced it. I have far more energy now and I get a lot more done.

In today’s fast-paced work environment, taking breaks is often seen as a luxury rather than a necessity. However, research has shown that regular breaks are essential for maintaining productivity and overall well-being. In this article, we explore the information provided in an infographic from Martech Zone, which highlights the importance of taking breaks and offers suggestions on how to maximize their benefits.

  1. The Importance of Breaks – regular breaks help improve focus, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being. A well-timed break can make the difference between a productive workday and a day filled with burnout and fatigue.
  2. The 90-Minute Rule – The 90-minute rule is based on the natural rhythm of our bodies, known as the Ultradian Rhythm. This rhythm suggests that humans can maintain high levels of focus and productivity for 90 minutes before needing a break. To maximize productivity, try working in 90-minute intervals, followed by a short break.
  3. The Ideal Break Duration – The infographic recommends taking breaks that last between 15 and 20 minutes for maximum effectiveness. A break that is too short may not provide enough time to recharge, while an overly long break can make it difficult to regain focus.
  4. Break Activities – The type of activity you engage in during your break can have a significant impact on its effectiveness. The infographic suggests several activities that can help rejuvenate your mind and body:
    • Stretching: Stretching helps improve blood flow and releases muscle tension, making it an ideal break activity.
    • Going for a walk: A short walk can boost creativity and provide a change of scenery that refreshes the mind.
    • Deep breathing or meditation: These techniques help to reduce stress and improve focus.
    • Power napping: A quick 10 to 20-minute nap can significantly improve alertness and cognitive function.
  5. Disconnecting from Work – The infographic emphasizes the importance of disconnecting from work during breaks. Avoid checking your email or engaging in work-related conversations. Instead, use this time to recharge and focus on non-work-related activities.
  6. Schedule Breaks – To ensure that you take regular breaks, schedule them in advance. By planning your breaks, you can make sure that you have time to recharge without feeling guilty or worrying about falling behind on your tasks.

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity, focus, and overall well-being. By understanding the science behind breaks, following the 90-minute rule, and engaging in rejuvenating activities, you can maximize the benefits of your breaks and optimize your work performance. So, go ahead and schedule those breaks – your mind and body will thank you!

Why You Should Take A Break

Jenn Lisak Golding

Jenn Lisak Golding is President and CEO of Sapphire Strategy, a digital agency that blends rich data with experienced-back intuition to help B2B brands win more customers and multiply their marketing ROI. An award-winning strategist, Jenn developed the Sapphire Lifecycle Model: an evidence-based audit tool and blueprint for high-performing marketing investments.

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