Taking short breaks during your working day can help boost your productivity and may even make you more creative, but it’s often hard to make the time on busy days, even when you know it’s important. Here are our top five creative ways to take a short break during a busy day.
Studies have shown that practising mindfulness techniques for short amounts of time can not just improve focus, they can also help to relieve stress. Sites like Calm help busy people take advantage of these benefits in bite-size chunks; you can take just a two-minute time-out with Calm, or try 10 minutes with Headspace.
Sometimes just pausing the steady stream of incoming chatter can give you a much-needed break. Try scheduling some “no email” time every day to create a window of uninterrupted time to yourself. If you use Gmail, check out the inbox pause extension to make “no email” time even easier.
You may think that grabbing a quick snack at lunchtime and eating it at your desk will help you focus on the important tasks you’re working on - but the reality is that this could be making you less productive. Instead, why not come up with some creative ways to tear yourself away from the screen over lunchtime? This Forbes article has some great suggestions to help you take back your lunch hour.
Undertaking some exercise is a great reason to get away from your desk; it's not only good for you, but it may even help make you smarter. If you can't spare half an hour in your lunch break to go for a walk, check out this 7-minute workout that scientists claim will yield the same benefits as a longer session. And if you're really short on time, why not try some simple Deskercise circuits instead?
Sometimes the best way to recharge is to just stop what you’re working on and take a look at something that’s more interesting and fun for a little while. But if you’re worried about wasting hours browsing through top 10 lists and watching cat videos, a short, focused burst of procrastination may be better for you. Set a timer for five minutes then check out some great procrastination sites like this Mental Floss list, usvsth3m’s games section, or the classic, Orisinal games.
What’s your favourite way to take a quick break and unwind at work? Do you schedule in some downtime every day? Let us know in the comments!
This blog post was first published on 16 August 2013 and was last updated on 19 June 2015.