1. How often should you take a break?
Probably the most common question regarding brakes is the frequency of them.
How often should I take a break?
How long should my brakes be?
It’s proven, that frequent short brakes are more effective than few longer brakes. It keeps motivation high while maintaining good concentration and focus. It’s recommended to make 10-15min. brakes for every hour of work.
But don’t get too serious with adopting this frequency. You should always do what works best for you. Personally, I like longer periods of work, followed by longer breaks. I work for two or three hours straight, followed by a 30min. break.
Some people may prefer to work for 20min. and take 5min. brakes.
Why do frequent brakes help for motivation?
The answer is simple: When you know a break is coming soon, you will be motivated to finish your work at that time. Let’s say you have to work three hours with no break in between to finish three tasks. Because of this long time period, it is hard for you to guess, how long it will take until you have finished all the tasks. You have no pressure to finish those tasks and at the end of the time, you won’t be finished. Having brakes in between puts more pressure on you finishing those tasks. You know that you should at least finish one task every hour so you finish at the appropriate time.
2. What should I do during those brakes?
The second question regards the activities you should do during those brakes to recharge energy. The simple answer is: Do what you enjoy.
To go deeper, here are some further tips:
- Change places. Stand up and go somewhere else. It is very helpful to escape your working-space and do something else. It reduces stress and makes it easier for you to turn off for a moment.
- Go out in nature. The best way to take a break is to go out in nature and see some sunlight. The artificial light of computer screens can fatigue your eyes very easily. Going outside and getting some sunlight will give you energy and motivation.
- Eat something. Not having enough energy causes you to lose focus. Eat a banana or an apple or eat some nuts. A little snack boosts your energy. But be aware of what you eat, since it can damage your health which makes you lose productivity in the long run.
- Take vision brakes. Starring on a screen for a long time lets your eyes fatigue. Every 20min. you should look away at a distant object for about 20 seconds. That way you don’t stare for too long on the monitor and prevent fatigue.
3. What are useful ways to stay concentrated when taking a break?
Some people are concerned because they think that taking a break makes them lose focus. I understand this point because I also like to finish my work at once without taking any brakes.
The proven method is that taking frequent breaks is more beneficial for concentration than few breaks.
What can you do to stay concentrated?
- Break the tasks down into multiple parts. Instead of having one big task, you now have multiple smaller tasks. When it’s time to take a break, you can finish this small task, before thinking about something else. So when you come back, you know where you left of and continue with the next part of the task.
- Don’t take a break. If you don’t feel like it, keep on working on your task until it’s finished. Nobody should force you to take a break. The simplest way to stay energized is to eat something from time to time.
If you have other tips on how to take effective breaks or have questions, please let me know down in the comments. I am also happy for every correction in language or spelling since I’m still learning to write in English. Have a productive day!