How Smart Breaks Make You More Productive

It’s tempting to work through breaks, but intelligently chosen breaks can actually make you more productive.

As a busy entrepreneur, you’ve likely gone entire days without a break, and entire months without a vacation or long weekend. The tempting mentality is that any kind of break means less time you have to work toward your goals, but the reality is, a well-timed break can actually make you more productive.

How?

· Decompression. Taking a break from work gives your mind a chance to relax, and stop thinking so hard. Your mind is like a muscle; if it’s constantly straining, it’s going to become less effective. You need rests between exercises to achieve your full potential. There’s a reason you come up with your best ideas in the shower; it’s when your mind is at rest and free to wander.

· Focus. When you’re relaxed, or at least away from your desk for a little while, you’ll come back better able to focus, and therefore more productive.

· De-stress. Taking a break is your chance to de-stress. Otherwise, the stress will accumulate throughout the day, and have nastier effects on your health, motivation, and ultimately, productivity.

· Burnout prevention. If you continue skipping breaks on a regular basis, you’ll pave a path toward burnout. If that happens, your entrepreneurial career may be over—or at least will be significantly more miserable.

What Makes a Smart Break?

So how can you take breaks more intelligently?

· Duration. At least a few times a day, you should break from your current task for a period of at least several minutes; ideally, you’ll be away for 15 minutes or longer. At least once or twice a year, you should take a vacation of at least a week’s worth of consecutive days.

· Timing. Don’t go too long without a break, and try not to break in the middle of a task that requires focus. Schedule your breaks if you can.

· Nature. Make sure your breaks are actually breaks; don’t get distracted or try to multitask while away.

By taking better breaks, and taking them more frequently, you’ll improve your productivity and your chances for long-term success.

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