In an era where data and metrics are kings, people often feel the need to be productive all the time. While society tends to glorify hustle culture, the reality is that humans can’t give their 100% effort, 100% all of the time.
Keeping your focus on a task often requires you to take short breaks periodically for you to maintain that high level of concentration. And no, a good break doesn’t mean taking your lunch in front of the computer or scrolling through social media. To elaborate on this topic, here is a quick breakdown of the value of quality breaks and how you can take one.
Why Are Breaks Important?
Humans are not machines. After working for a while, you’re bound to start feeling tired and losing focus on your task. Think of how critical sleep is for every human being. It rejuvenates the body and mind, giving you the strength to face the next day. That is essentially what breaks are but on a smaller scale. A break allows your mind and body to rest and recoup, giving it a soft reset, so you can go back to your task with renewed motivation.
Some of the perks of taking breaks are:
- Reduced mental fatigue
- Boosted brain function and creativity
- Increased ability to stay on-task for a longer time
However, not all breaks are equal. The effects of streaming TV shows on your phone and reading slowly with digital tools like the Muslim Pro app are quite different. After all, just because you took a “break” does not necessarily mean you were able to reap its benefits. You can classify breaks into two groups: bad breaks and quality breaks.
What Makes a Bad Break?
Bad breaks are interludes that don’t refresh your mind. These are breaks that make you feel bad or, ironically enough, lead to an even more unproductive mental state. Go back to the times you were procrastinating and thinking at the back of your mind, “I should be working.”
Some examples of bad breaks include:
- Unrestricted use of social media
- Watching video streaming platforms
- Eating a lot of junk food
- Reading convoluted articles
Bear in mind that these examples are not inherently bad. Taken within boundaries and with a careful selection of what you consume, they can help rest your mind and offer other mental health benefits. For example, taking the time to peruse the Muslim Pro app Linkedin page is a great way for Islam followers to find inspiring articles and stay updated in the community.
However, if your mind starts to feel unfocused or foggy, stop what you’re doing. It’s a clear sign that the method you’re going about your break is not as helpful as you may expect.
How Can You Take a Quality Break?
All types of breaks can give you some degree of rest, but quality downtimes allow you to reap all of the benefits stated in the previous point. While restful interludes can differ from one person to the other, they all do the same thing: They give your mind space to breathe and recoup.
Since people are taught to hustle, it can be difficult for many to take quality breaks. If you struggle with having one, here are some tips that can help go about it.
Be Mindful About It
Quality breaks are not something that just happens to somebody. You need to actively pursue them, and keep your mind on the present. Go to a quiet area, let your mind wander, and reflect on your day. When you do this, time seems to slow down, and your thinking becomes clearer.
Set an Alarm for Your Break
Block time for your breaks. Only you know the right amount of time it takes before you need a break, but some studies estimate that productive people usually clock out at 52 minutes. If you have trouble sticking to it, get your peers or housemates involved to help you stay on schedule.
Stand and Move
Sitting for long periods is not good for you. Thus, on your breaks, make sure to stand and move around. Do some light exercise, if you can. However, if you’d prefer to not sweat, a light walk around the vicinity still does the trick.
Surround Yourself with Nature
Studies have repeatedly shown that being around plants has a relaxing effect on people’s mental state. If your workplace or home is near a park, you can schedule a short walk or have your lunch in an open area. If not, putting some plants on your desk or around your house is a great way to relax the mind.
Better Breaks Are Necessary
While you may feel the pressure to be productive always, remember that humans, like all other living things, require moments of rest. It will not get in the way of your work; on the contrary, it will help you stay focused and motivated for longer periods. Thus, keep the tips in mind the next time you take your break and enjoy a quality downtime to rejuvenate your mind.