You heard right: you need an Instagram or coffee break to work better!
Taking a break can help you stay more focused. (Photo: Firmbee / www.pixabay.com)
All work and no play makes anyone dull. To all the workhorses in the office, what if we told you that taking a break can help you work better? Here are five breaks you need during the day.
1. Take a five-second break: Clench your fist
No, you’re not preparing to give your pesky colleague a punch. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that tightening any muscle the moment you’re faced with a mental or physical difficulty could help you endure pain and increase self-control.
“The mind and the body are so closely tied together, merely clenching muscles can activate willpower,” say the study’s authors, Iris Hung from the National University of Singapore and Aparna Labroo from the University of Chicago. You know what to do if your computer hangs or if your boss demands that you work overtime. And, guess what, clenching your fist also helps improve your memory!
2. Take a five-minute break: Get a coffee
Your caffeine ﬁx could reduce the number of errors you make, say researchers who reviewed 13 studies from around the world. And if you like, have a sweet treat in hand to accompany your drink – a study published in Human Psychopharmacology found that combining both caffeine and glucose can improve cognitive performance, attention span and memory.
3. Take a 10-minute break: Slip in some shut-eye
Re-reading the same line on screen for the last ﬁve minutes? Take a nap already! According to a study published in Sleep, a 10-minute siesta is ideal. Apart from reducing fatigue, it can improve alertness and performance for up to two and a half hours. Snoozing for any longer than that, however, may make it difficult for you to sleep at night.
4. Take a 10-minute (or slightly more) break: Get your news/Facebook/Instagram updates
Surﬁng the Web for merely 10 minutes could make a difference. In a study by the National University of Singapore, those who did so were 16 per cent more productive than those who took other kinds of breaks – and 39 per cent more task-efficient than those who didn’t rest at all. We suggest checking out these top healthy foodies or fitness personalities.
5. Take a 30-minute break: Sweat it out
Exercising on workdays can better prepare you for the day ahead. So, go for that lunchtime gym class (or go for an early morning workout at one of these 24-hour gyms). In a study of 200 people done by the University of Bristol, nearly three quarters said that they managed their workload and time better on days they worked out as compared to when they didn’t. Researchers also found that the participants felt less composed on non-exercise days.