There is nothing better than taking a break in the middle of a project. It helps you step away from what you are working on, gain a fresh perspective, and reboot your thinking. It just shakes things up a bit inside that stale noggin of yours.
Not every office environment or culture thinks getting outside and taking a walk is beneficial to your “productivity”. In fact, taking short breaks when you are working boosts your productivity significantly. But studies show that most employees feel too guilty to take a break, even though it’s super helpful. A University of Toronto study revealed that breaks help you feel less stressed out (doh!).
59 percent of those surveyed said more breaks would improve their work happiness, and 43 percent said it would boost their personal happiness. Additionally, 37 percent said regular breaks during the day would improve their health.
And so it does.
So how do you take a break in an environment that is living in the past about worker’s health? Or thinks worker’s health is in not way connected to their output? Here are a few ridiculous but effective ideas:
1. Put a sign at your desk that says “taking a short break to boost my productivity – returning at X time” so people know when they can find you. It’s great role modeling that you are in charge of your time. If your boss is super old-fashioned, feel free to cite a study to back yourself up. If your boss is super old-fashioned and also super hard-headed (and/or living in a post-fact utopia), it might just be time to make a career change ;)
2. Suggest to your manager (or if you are a manager, maybe take this suggestion yourself) that you have a standing meeting, or that the team walk around the campus and talk about the business. You can remind him or her that it’s healthier (and makes the meeting time shorter). If they’re worried about note-taking, remind them that voice recorders exist and offer to take notes after-the-fact. Or even better, suggest you all exercise the use of your memory, and jot down any notes once you get back to your desks.
3. Put on your invisibility shield. Remember back to when you didn’t want to be seen by your parents? You did it effectively as a child, and it still works today. Before you walk down the hallway or out the door to take that long-needed breather, imagine pulling an invisibility shield over yourself. Say to yourself, “From the moment I leave my desk and the office, no one is going to be able to see me until I want them to when I return.” Sometimes it’s important to navigate through the world unseen.
There is no better time to improve your work habits to impact your productivity. (Didn’t that sound all jargony?) You are here, this is your life. Make it better for you, healthier, happier, so you can bring more of your creative genius self to the world.
PS. Anyone who has a great productivity enhancing idea, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll enter your name in a contest to WIN a deck of the Change Genie game cards.