Taking Breaks Will Actually Make You More Productive. Here’s How To Build Them Into Your Day

If you’re the super productive go-go-go type, you probably think a break is the last thing you have time for. After all, how could you possibly fit one in between your morning workout, busy workday, and evening networking dinner?

We get why it seems counterintuitive, but taking little breaks throughout the day or week will actually make you more productive in the long run and help you harness all that creative, achievement-oriented energy of yours. As Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino explains, “Now more than ever we seem to be living lives where we're busy and overworked, and our research shows that if we'd take some time out for reflection, we might be better off.”

Gino is on to something, especially because burnout is now an official medical condition. If you’re constantly running on too much coffee, too little sleep and exactly zero deep breaths, you’re headed straight for team burnout—and nothing will stall your productivity faster than that.

If you still don’t think you have time for a break, here are a few ideas for seamlessly weaving them into your day.

Keep a water bottle at your desk.

You’ve probably heard of this as a trick for sitting less—and staying well-hydrated, of course—because the more water you drink, the more you’ll be forced to get up for bathroom breaks. While they shouldn’t be the only break you take throughout the day, in addition to helping you move more, these built in walks can serve as little mental breaks throughout the day, too. Bonus points if you take one or two deep, intentional breaths. 

Schedule a one-on-one with yourself.

When Silk + Sonder founder Meha Agrawal worked in finance, she had a standing meeting on her Google calendar—and it was with herself. Blocking out just a few minutes a day meant her colleagues couldn’t book her during that time slot, and they didn’t have to know that meeting was actually with herself. She used that time to free write in a conference room, and she always came back to her desk feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the tasks ahead. 

Take a page out of Meha's book and schedule a daily—or even weekly—meeting with yourself. 

Ditch your phone for an hour every day.

We’re all a little bit addicted to our phones in 2019, but using the down time you do have to scroll mindlessly through your phone isn’t doing your productivity any favors. So for an hour a day, put your phone in another room use that time to totally unplug. Read a book, write in your journal, or cook a delicious meal. Just that one hour will help you feel more refreshed and amp up your productivity.

Take a walk.

Do you tend to stay inside all day long, eating sad desk salads while staring at your computer? It’s time to break that habit. Instead, on days when the weather allows for it, eat lunch outside and take a short walk. One study found that just one 15-minute walk during the workday was enough to improve focus and make for a more productive afternoon.

Spend five minutes meditating.

One of the biggest excuses people use for why they can't meditate is because they don't have time, but research shows that even just a few minutes a day can provide immense benefits—and everyone has a few minutes. Whether it's right when you wake up in the morning or before you fall asleep at night, carving out just five minutes a day to meditate wouldn't just make you calmer and happier—it will make you more productive

 If you’re the high-achieving type, it makes sense that breaks don’t come easily to you, but trust us: making just a few minutes a day for breaks will pay off in the long run. 

If you’re looking for a soul-satisfying, creativity-boosting way to spend your breaks, make sure to check out Silk + Sonder.

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