Five reasons to take more breaks

Look, I know how excruciating it is when you click on a listicle only to find HUNDREDS OF FREAKING WORDS of intro before you even get to item number one. I’m not going to do that to you, because I like you.

Here are five reasons to take more breaks throughout your working day.

1. It helps you find creative solutions to tricky problems

When you’re focused on a task, your brain is in what’s called “central executive mode”. This helps you to be self-disciplined and to think carefully about what you’re doing. But central executive mode has its limitations. In central executive mode, your thinking is pretty much entirely linear. Linear thinking is great for solving many kinds of problems (like the math problems you did in high school algebra), but not so great when you get stuck.

When you step away from whatever you’re working on and take a break, you enter mind-wandering mode. That’s when your brain starts making unexpected connections between different concepts. That’s when really creative solutions become possible.

2. It helps you to concentrate when it really counts

There is a limit on how many minutes you can stay focused. Attention is like a muscle: it gets fatigued when you use it continuously. Taking short breaks helps refresh your mind and bring more focus to your work throughout the day.

3. It’s better for your body

Look, you know this already, but I’ll say it anyway. If you keep your body in a single position and do the same repetitive tasks over and over again, you are going to develop some aches and pains. If you work at a computer, your eyes, back, and neck are in particular danger of strain. Taking regular breaks greatly reduces the risk of long-term damage.

4. It gives you a chance to connect with others

If most of you work is done solo, you’re not getting a lot of human connection throughout the day. Taking breaks gives you an opportunity to reach out to others. Hang out in the kitchen of your co-working space while someone else fixes themselves a coffee; connect with your studio mates; chat with fellow entrepreneurs in a facebook group; call a colleague just to find out how they’re doing.

Oh, and if you feel guilty about slacking off and socialising: connecting with others is also called “networking”.

5. It’s fun

Need I say more?

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