I took a break before I started writing this blog post. Since the subject I was writing was about taking a break, I decided following its advice may be the best way to get my writing done. I made myself a cup of tea, a snack, and played a silly game on my phone. My break lasted roughly 7 minutes. Then I got to work.
Taking breaks is an important part of the workday. John gives it a whole chapter in his book. Many of us would assume the most productive among us are those of us taking the fewest breaks and putting in the most hours each day. Workaholics are also the most productive, right? Not really.
Our attention wanes as the hours go on, making us less productive and far more easily distracted. By taking breaks we can then give what we are working on the full attention it deserves. Breaks make us more productive because it allows the rest of the time to be fully focused on our work, which thereby produces better work. A break combats waning attention spans and gives us the moments we need to complete impressive work with joy.
The seven minutes I took before writing this blog post gave me the hour I needed to focus and complete the task before me. As you will find in John’s book, productive people are intentional people. Intentional breaks are important parts of a productive person’s workday.
The interesting thing about taking breaks is it makes the work within the next hour or two really good work. Have you ever noticed that? The work I do right after my morning coffee or afternoon lunch break is often the work I enjoy doing the most. In those moments I’m focused and intentional. Our work benefits from the planned moments we take to not be working.
Breaks also need to be genuinely refreshing. Discussing work projects or stressing about all the things we have to still accomplish doesn’t have a place in a break. My favorite way to take a break is to make myself a tea. The process of walking to the breakroom, waiting for the water to boil, and then walking back to my office is all I need. Maybe for you it’s a walk around the block or writing a text to a friend. Do whatever takes your mind from your tasks and stress and allows you to breathe for a few moments.
Give it a try tomorrow and let us know how it went. Did you feel more productive at the end of the work day? Did you feel less tired? Add a seven minute break to your lunch break in the afternoon and see how your workday benefits from it.