We’ve all been there…
Late nights, tired eyes, and enough coffee to get you banned from the Olympics.
A lot of us are stuck in the grind and hustle lifestyle that has become so popular.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m all for working hard and putting in the sweat equity to become successful.
But, we’re only human. We have limits.
And, learning those limits and working within them can make you more productive, healthy, and happy.
In particular, I’m talking about taking a–don’t get scared–a break.
Yes, a break. That means stepping away from work, the computer, and not doing anything.
Remember your mom telling you to go outside more as a kid? She wasn’t joking.
If you were me a few years ago, that sounded terrifying. It’s way too easy to become a workaholic and wear it as a badge of honor.
But, life needs a balance. Keep reading to learn how to take more effective breaks and why they are so important.
It boosts mental and physical health
Working constantly is stressful.
But, it’s not just impactful on the brain and mind.
Being stressed because of excess work leads to spikes in cortisol, insulin, and other stress-related hormones.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Additionally, it’s been found that sitting down at a desk, table, or anywhere else makes you much more likely to be depressed, overweight, or diabetic.
On the flip-side, a 5-minute walk every hour can improve health and wellbeing.
So, make it a habit to go for a stroll to get coffee, some sun, read, or do another low-grade activity every hour.
Better yet, get outside. Breath in the crisp fresh air, feel the warm sun on your skin and enjoy being out in nature.
That has its own psychological benefits on its own.
It’s not a massive break that will take away from progress, either.
That brings me to my next point.
Working more doesn’t make you more productive
The more hours you put in the better, right?
Not at all, in fact.
It’s been proven that the longer we focus on something, the less mental resources we are able to allocate towards it.
It actually makes you a worse decision-maker.
The reality is that you can only focus so much every day. Our energy is finite.
So, use it wisely. Don’t get burnt out working for too long.
Taking strategic breaks will allow you to keep your energy high when returning to task over the long term.
They make you more creative
If you have less mental resources when you’re fatigued from working long hours, you definitely won’t be as creative or a good problem solver.
And, business and work are all problem-solving.
You’ll find that when you take breaks that you are able to make much more impactful decisions.
For example, a Stanford University study found that volunteers completed mental tasks better while walking than sitting,
It also lresulted in more creative thinking and outcomes.
It makes you learn faster
Knowledge is power, right?
If you enjoy reading, listening to podcasts, or learning in general, then you need to know that breaks contribute to increase memory and learning.
We all know sleep is good for the brain. Sure.
However, did you know that resting while awake offers similar benefits for improving memory function?
This is because the brain takes and reviews what we’ve learned to integrate it into itself for later. This is how you truly remember and learn things.
Funny enough, you use energy when you rest, too. A lot, in fact.
It’s estimated that we use 20% of our body’s total energy when we rest.
But, what’s our brain doing during this time?
Many different processes, including:
- Internalizing lessons
- Activating memories
- Connecting the past
- present, and future
- Combining different ideas
- Developing self-awareness
- Inciting creative solutions
- Coming up with predictions
And, guess what? All of this helps you work smarter!
I challenge you to implement short breaks during the day to do healthy and small tasks.
I’m confident you will feel happier, healthier, and not sacrifice an inch of productivity.