Taking short breaks at work improves productivity
A stop to drink water or ten minutes of rest, both are valid to reduce mental fatigue
Standing in front of the computer screen, unable to concentrate to finish a task or without creativity to put an important project on paper. Who hasn’t experienced this on a workday? For this problem, taking short breaks can be the solution.
According to a survey by West University of Timișoara, in Romania, taking micro breaks (up to ten minutes) can significantly increase energy levels and reduce mental fatigue. This applies mainly to repetitive and creative work. For the analysis, the researchers reviewed previous studies on micropauses from the last 30 years.
One of the most curious and important findings of the study is that there is no clear definition of how long this break should last. The bigger the better. However, according to experts, even small stops of seconds are effective in reducing fatigue, increasing performance and optimizing energy expenditure.
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For the authors, the study can serve as a basis for managers to support the well-being of employees, encouraging them to take short breaks during working hours. “This leadership involvement is important considering that many employees may still feel that taking breaks is perceived as counterproductive behavior,” they wrote in the article, published in the journal PLOS ONE.
In addition, the authors argue that micro-breaks can also be applied in the educational context, in which classes could be interspersed with short breaks for students to rest. These stops are even more important in distance classes, where students spend hours sitting in front of a computer.
But, after all, what to do in these “micropauses”?
How about a little walk? Or maybe stretch a little? In this way, in addition to moving the body, it is possible to relieve muscle tensions, helping to relax the body. In addition, standing upright helps the blood flow, as points out Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine in California, at healthline.
Another idea is to use the micropause to drink water, eat a quick snack or prepare a coffee. Taking a deep breath, consciously, is also a good option. One suggestion is guided meditation. The practice is a good alternative for those who are not in the habit of meditating and need a guide to help with breathing and to clear the mind.
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