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Can Taking a Break During Work Actually Make You More Productive?

How often do you sit down at the computer and not look up again until it gets dark?

It happens to everyone, and even if you feel focused, you may not be as productive as you think you were.

The human brain needs a break every once in a while, and if you don’t actively provide it, then, your brain will do it for you. Taking a break isn’t a sign of weakness: it’s the best way to stay productive.

Here’s why you should take more breaks — both long and short.

Reduce Stress Levels

You can feel stress even at a job you enjoy. Finding yourself facing an intractable problem, feeling frustrated about a lack of resources, or even waking up on the wrong side of the bed can leave you with hunched shoulders.

Breaks are one way to deal with a high workload without sending stress hormones flying through your body. A clinical study found that even five-minute breaks every half hour can help surgeons significantly reduce psychological stress.

Imagine what it can do for those of us whose daily tasks don’t involve surgery!

Increase Your Attention Span

Are you struggling to concentrate? Finding yourself easily distracted? There’s a temptation to push through and try harder. But sometimes what your brain really needs is a good old-fashioned break.

In a study of assembly workers, workers who enjoyed a short break were able to increase their attention span significantly in the period after their break.

The lesson: if you can’t concentrate, stop trying. Get up, walk away, and return to your desk when you’re ready. You’ll not only be able to focus but you will have an improved focus.

Feel More Engaged

Taking breaks can improve your overall job performance and increase your chances for a promotion. Why? Because workers who take breaks are more engaged than those who don’t.

Research found that daily micro-breaks leave employees feeling rejuvenated, even in work they didn’t enjoy. However, you have to take a proper break and relax: a quick break for a snack won’t do the trick. Take five to ten minutes and do something else or just switch off. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it works.

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