I started taking five-minute breaks once every hour, and here’s what happened


Like most people, I work 40 hour work weeks. This means that in a typical day, I spend 8 hours working, 8 hours sleeping, and then have 8 hours to myself. Unfortunately, for many, those 8 hours to yourself often involve getting ready for work, an hour lunch break (this might take place at your desk) commuting to and from the office, going to the gym, and cooking dinner. What did I say I had.. 8 hours to myself? That has now turned into 2 (wait, did I account for rush hour traffic?) In a 24 hour day, we really have 2 hours to ourselves (if we’re lucky). Give. Yourself. Breaks.

I started taking five-minute breaks once every hour, and here’s what happened.

1. I got more done in my work day
 Yep, that’s right. Even though really five minutes every hour for an eight hour day adds up to 40 minutes (shh don’t tell your boss) by forcing myself to stop and take a break, even in the middle of my groove and mid-sentence of that email, I have seen such an increase in my work productivity. By allowing myself to focus on a little bit of me and my mental and physical health, it’s given me the chance to be more productive during the other 55 minutes in that hour.

2. I feel better about myself when I’m done for the day
 I’m not leaving the office feeling drained and exhausted and cursing myself for having this job. I have energy still, and excitement for the rest of the day. I’m looking forward to the gym. I’m excited about cooking dinner. My brain isn’t dead and my mind isn’t wandering thinking about work when I leave work. I’m feeling good, and ready for the evening.

3. I’m getting a bigger butt and seeing that six pack come in
 That’s right everyone, my butt’s getting big (the six pack might be a slight exaggeration). What am I doing during these 5-minute breaks? Getting up from the desk, moving, and being active! I’m taking a quick walk, I’m drinking water, or hey, maybe I’m doing sit-ups and body weight squats. Now even if I don’t make it to the gym tonight, I’m not beating myself up about it because I know that I at least got in 30 minutes of some kind of activity that day!

4. I feel relaxed
 I’m not thinking about the office when I leave the office anymore. Since I was more productive in the workday, and I executed some kind of mental health throughout the day, my body isn’t feeling tense and my mind isn’t wandering. I’m shutting that computer down at 5:00 PM and I’m done!

5. My eyes feel better
 Hey I have 20/20 vision and I’m not trying to lose that due to my computer job that is making me stare at a bright screen all day. By stepping away from the screen for a little bit of time each hour, I’m giving my eyes a break so I don’t feel digital eye strain and continue to experience eye discomfort (Computer Vision Syndrome is a thing people!)

6. I’m craving less caffeine 
 Of course I am still drinking my morning coffee (honestly, there’s nothing that could make me give that up), but I found myself no longer craving and needing that second cup of caffeine come mid-afternoon. Since I’m getting myself up and moving, I’m naturally getting that energy and not needing a cup of coffee and pack of sugar to do it for me.