Boost Your Productivity by Taking a Break

By Lewis Horn,
Graphic Designer, Lessiter Media

A lot of people feel that productivity is directly correlated to the time spent at your desk. While in theory that makes sense, if the time spent at your desk isn't productive it doesn't really matter how long you sit there.

And while most people don't get paid to just sit at a desk, you've likely found yourself at some point spinning your wheels and 'wasting' time trying to get something completed. So how do you combat creative lulls to make the most of your work day?

Oddly enough, the answer could be as simple as taking a break.

Taking breaks — be it a midday lunch or smaller breaks throughout the day — can help you refuel, re-energize and refocus. Which, in turn, can help you be more creative, be more productive and reduce stress.

Here are some quick tips to help you make the most of your break-time so you come back refreshed and ready to contribute at a high level.

Actually Take a Break

Quickly eating at your desk and checking social media doesn’t count. This article from CIPHR explains the importance of stepping away from your desk and leaving your work there for a bit. Don’t check your email on your phone. Don’t go start an informal meeting about a project. Use your allotted break time to your advantage. Go run that errand, quickly talk to a friend, eat, decompress or just sit in a quiet space and let your mind wander.

Move Around

We all know sitting too long is bad for us — and if you don't, here is some data from the Mayo Clinic that explains why. So get up multiple times a day just to keep the blood flowing and not be sedentary. Even if it’s to get water or say "hello" to a co-worker in person, just something to get you out of the chair for a few minutes at a time can make a big difference.

Go Outside

Being outside can do wonders for your health and well-being. This article from the Harvard Business Review explains that getting outside can significantly reduce stress, enhance innovative potential and boost a sense of connection. Even indoor plants and photos of nature can help your morale and creativity.

Avoid Screens

Computers, smartphones, tablets, TVs, etc. Avoiding them has become harder and harder to do, and most of us look at screens all day and much of the night. This article from Forbesexplains how too much screen time can lead to a decrease in productivity. It can also strain your eyes. To avoid this, try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Also, getting away from screens will help you to take a real break, move and maybe get outside. A win-win-win situation to keep your creative juices flowing.

The type of breaks you take may vary day-to-day, and let's be honest, sometimes you'll get too busy to take much of a break at all. But if you are conscious about taking a few mental breathers throughout the day, you just might see an increase in your productivity and creativity while lowering your stress levels and overall fatigue.

So, if you find yourself stuck in a rut or feel burnt out from yet another meeting, maybe it's time for a quick break to help get you back on track!