Not having breaks affects your work performance. Image courtesy of iosphere at freedigitalphotos.net
.Real or perceived work expectations, whether from your boss or due to high expectations you have self-imposed are healthy – to a degree. They can function as a driver to keep us on task and can serve as a motivator to aspire. However, no matter how hard you work, having proper rest and break time is just as important.
Just as you wouldn’t think of exercising without rest for periods of time longer than you are accustomed to, so too the ability to focus for a certain ability amount of time may be important for achievement, but so are breaks.
1. Breaks prevent us from becoming bored, thus losing our ability to concentrate. According to Professor of Psychology Alejandra Lleran having mental breaks allows us to stay focussed.
2. Research has shown that having breaks can consolidate information, offer fresh insights and foster the ability to problem-solve.
3. According to the Harvard Business Review, breaks can help to ‘re-evaluate our goals’. That is, sometimes we are so wrapped up in task completion that we lose sight of whether we are going about it in the best way. On a larger level, breaks can give us a chance to reassess whether our goals are really that important to us and to re-prioritise if necessary.
4. Breaks allow us time to mentally refuel. Adequate hydration and nourishment is obviously important for brain function. This doesn’t mean just having a coffee as caffeine can dehydrate and make us anxious, which has a negative impact on performance. Plenty of water and good nutrition help the brain (and body) function optimally.
5. Breaks allow us time to physically recharge. There is only so much time you can sit slumped in a chair or sitting down. Standing up and stretching is not only advisable but necessary. If you neglect your physical posture for long periods of time physical ailments may emerge. For example, back and neck pain and headaches may occur which overall has a deleterious impact on performance.
6. Breaks can serve to emotionally recharge us. Just as our minds and bodies need rest, so too a break can allow us to re-connect to positive emotional energy whether it’s from an encouraging word we have with ourselves or a chat to a work colleague.