Five reasons taking breaks helps you get more done

Most of us spend the majority of our day sitting at our desks overwhelmed with a growing list of daily tasks. Rather than taking a few minutes to walk away from our work and recharge, we force ourselves to stay focused in hopes of conquering the endless to-do list.

When tasks begin to pile up and our levels of stress start to rise, we need to understand that taking breaks is the best way to truly achieve our daily assignments in a healthy manner. So here are five reasons to pause before completing that next to-do list item.

1. It improves your well-being 

Leave your desk and search for a setting that will allow you to meditate and practice mindfulness. You don’t need a yoga mat or a dark room filled with candles to get started. Find a quiet place where you can focus and clear your mind for a few minutes. Taking a moment to become more mindful is an important benefit in itself. Over the past few years, studies have confirmed that the practice of meditation and mindfulness leads to an improved sense of well-being, reduced stress and burnout, and increased ability to remain composed in difficult work situations.

2. It increases concentration

The brain is built to detect and respond to change. Therefore, prolonged attention to a single task negatively affects our concentration and leads to poor performance. When working on the same task for an extensive period of time, we begin to lose focus and our productivity declines because we’ve stopped paying attention to it. Short breaks can dramatically improve your ability to focus on that task for sustained periods.

3. It boosts brain function

Grabbing a snack is beneficial for recharging our brains and improving efficiency. It’s not lunch breaks in general that improve brain function, but it’s the food we consume that has a powerful effect on our brain function and overall productiveness. Brain-loving foods such as fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and even dark chocolate are great choices to boost brain function. Personally, I find that eating a healthy diet filled with more protein and less sodium keeps me energized.

4. It enhances performance

Attempting to stay focused at our desks for long periods increases the risk of making mistakes. The longer we work, the less focused we become. Once we begin to encounter distractions, we make errors without even realizing it. Giving yourself short breaks throughout the day will allow you to maintain concentration, which will in turn enable you to reevaluate your goals and get each task done the right way.

5. It improves creativity

When we become overwhelmed with our work, we are unable to put our creativity to the test. We cannot brainstorm new ideas because our heads are spinning with a million different thoughts of what needs to get accomplished for the day. The best way to improve our ability to think is to take a break and rest our minds.

Photo credit: Lauren Kallen

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