I Tried Looking at Art Instead of My Phone During My Breaks at Work — Here’s How It Made Me Feel

Behind the screens: a multimedia reporter learns to disconnect.

Human beings are creatures of habit, and most mornings, my routine goes something like this: I listen to a podcast while I stroll to work, drop my bag off at my desk when I arrive, and walk over to the office espresso bar to brew a cup of coffee. My phone almost always accompanies me on this last step — while I wait for the caffeine to fill my mug, I scroll through Twitter, catch up on Instagram, and read through emails. 

Come to think of it, my phone is present during most of the breaks I take during the day. And my eyes are glued to the screen even while I’m working: As a multimedia reporter, I spend much of my day writing on my laptop. By nighttime, my head often hurts and my brain feels foggy. 

This week, I challenged myself to leave my phone at my desk during my breaks — and the test didn’t stop there. When I stepped away, I treated my eyes to various calming and pleasurable visuals, like greenery (both indoors and outdoors) and paintings throughout the office — both of which can have positive effects on energy, mood, and productivity. To see how these Microsteps affected my day, watch the full video. 

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