I’ll just do one more thing! That has always been my mantra……. I know it isn’t good for me and am making a conscious effort to take some short breaks during the day. Knowing I do feel much better leaving my desk for a short break, it really is silly not to do it…..
To help me, I am putting down my thoughts on why to pause before starting the next item on my to-do list and sharing them with you. Hopefully, from today, I will start to listen to my own advice!
Better performance and concentration
Staying at your desk for long periods can increase the risk of making mistakes. The longer we work, the less focused we become. Once we begin to encounter distractions, we make errors without even realising it. Our brains are built to detect and respond to change. Therefore, prolonged attention to a single task can negatively affect our concentration and can lead to poor performance. When working on the same task for an extensive period of time, we begin to lose focus and our productivity declines because we’ve stopped paying attention to it.
Taking short breaks throughout the day will help to maintain concentration and performance, which will enable you to return to your task refreshed, and I hope, complete it in less time!
Back to the ‘I’ll just do one more thing’, often I find myself eating lunch at 3pm – is that good for me? Grabbing a small snack regularly can be beneficial for recharging our brains and improving efficiency. It’s not lunch breaks in general that improve brain function, but it’s the food we consume that has a powerful effect on our brain function and overall productiveness. Brain-loving foods such as fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and even dark chocolate are great choices to boost brain function. A reason to eat chocolate more regularly, can you turn that down?
When we become overwhelmed with our work, our creativity can suffer. It’s hard to brainstorm new ideas because our heads are spinning with a million different thoughts of what we need to get accomplished for the day. The best way to improve our ability to think is to step away and take that break.
In my last full-time role we were lucky enough to take part in a twelve week mindfulness course. While I have probably forgotten more than I practice, I have learnt to take a moment to stop and clear my mind for a few minutes, though I need to do it more often. There are several apps that can help here, one of my favourites is a Mindfulness bell that dings randomly, helping to remind you to take a short break and refocus.
Taking a moment to become more mindful is an important benefit in itself. Over the past few years, studies have confirmed that the practice of meditation and mindfulness leads to an improved sense of well-being, reduced stress and burnout, and increased ability to remain composed in difficult work situations.
I can hear both the Mindfulness bell and chocolate calling me……….remember, take that break!