The Science of Taking Breaks at Work to Help Boost Your Productivity
The counter-intuitive approach to improving consistency and building a healthy work-life balance.
In this era of you snooze, you lose, so many people are terrified of taking a break. They fear others might overtake them, that they’d be left behind and fail to achieve anything they wished for. In a recent survey by Inc. Magazine on more than 200 office workers, about a quarter of employees admitted to never leaving their desk except for lunch.
But do you really need to be on the verge of a breakdown to deserve a break? Is abusing your mind and body such an achievement? I decided to take a look at the science behind taking breaks and was surprised by the revelations: periodic breaks are actually good for you and your work.
In this post, I am going to share all the interesting bits of knowledge I found from my research and how you can apply them to your life to build a healthy work-life balance. I’ll also address some important questions like when should you take a break, how long should these breaks be, what should you do during your break, among others.
Why Take a Break
There’s no doubt that breaks can bring you fun, relaxation, and entertainment. But, as Psychology Today establishes, taking a break has a direct impact on boosting your productivity. Here are a few science-backed ways in which breaks might be essential for your functioning:
Prevent “decision fatigue”
Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. As this famous study on the decision-making capabilities of Israeli judges suggests, it can lead to simplistic decision-making and procrastination.
In the study, it was found that the judges were more likely to grant paroles to prisoners after coming back from food-breaks, as compared to when they’d been working for hours at a stretch. As decision fatigue set in after long hours of work, the rate of granting paroles gradually dropped to near 0%. This was explained as the judges resorting to the option that required them to put in the least amount of…