Do you find it difficult to work on a task, for long chunks of time? Good news – if you were thinking it’s a problem with you, it’s not! Rather, it’s something you can benefit from. If you stay disciplined and practice taking short breaks.
Studies suggest that our brain is built to respond to change, and prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance. Change then, is constrictive!
Prof. Alejandro Lleras, University of Illinois, shares that we get habituated to focusing our attention on one goal for prolonged periods of time, and after a point, the quality of our focus decreases. Thus, moving away from that goal and resuming focus on it after a break, helps us perform better. Many employees echo their belief in this practice. Though most of them either forget to take breaks or consider them as loss of time, or a distraction.
What do you stand to gain from such pauses? More than just increased productivity. Short breaks during work have proven to be beneficial in avoiding health issues, curbing stress, and in creating a happy atmosphere at the workplace. That’s ample reason to make it a habit and practice it, guilt free.
Here’s more about intentionally designing a short, useful break, and how you can utilize the practice to bring out your best.
Stage 1: Deactivate. The human brain is not capable of focusing for extended durations. Research says that professionals involved in work that requires mental focus ideally should take a break every 50 to 90 minutes. During the break, one has to totally disengage with the primary task – the mind needs to be distracted with something completely unrelated to the activity. A 10-15 minute break will do the trick.
Stage 2: Reactivate. Intentional deactivation from the task enables one to reactivate and come back sharper. In the disengaged state, you are actually giving the brain space to process information. This will eventually translate into a better impact on the task.
Stage 3: Revisit. Short breaks give the opportunity to examine, reassess, and reconsider the progress of your task. Along the process, you become mindful of your final objective, as there’s space for clarifying the end goal and laying out the next steps to achieve it. You can tell if you are on the right track or if you need to take a different direction.
Now that you know how to design short breaks, schedule them into your work routine. Build clarity into your tasks, improve your performance – all guilt free!