Breaks from work

When and how often should one take breaks during workday?
We have to change the narrative where it's only okay to take a break when you burn out or are on the verge of doing so.  Let us equip ourselves with a better understanding of when you should take a break, why you should take it and the most efficient way to take it. This entails breaks between tasks, breaks as in a leave of absence or break of just a few seconds to look away from the screen. 

  • Financial planning beyond savings & taxes - While the first quarter of the year is almost over, it's still not too late to book your next vacation and plan your next set of leaves. Pre-empt how many breaks you can take in a year while keeping a buffer for emergencies and sickness. A good financial planning does not just entail savings and taxes but also sparing money for traveling/ any other leisure activity. 
  • Efficiency vs productivity - Productivity entails how much work you can do in a time frame and efficiency entails how well you utilize your time to do so. Studies show that humans even during their 8 hour shifts are only productive for less than 4 hours as we are not hardwired to sit and work in one place. Hence, know your least productive hours in a day and kick back during that time. If not kick back, you can efficiently use the time to complete relatively easier tasks. 
  • How many breaks is too many breaks? - Several studies have suggested that it is ideal to take breaks after every 50 minutes, but how to differentiate between a break and a distraction? Well, a break is a disciplined time period that helps you take a step back and give your brain a rest. But when you extend that period at the cost of derailing a task even an entire day, it ends up becoming a problem. Identify the root cause of it, as it can be an early onset of burnout, fatigue and a true need for a longer break. 

But then what should one do during a break? Well, anything but work or use a screen. Idea of a break should not be to shift from one screen to another, please know that your attention towards the white noise of the internet is not helpful. Instead, move your body, take a walk to grab a beverage, hydrate yourself, take up a menial task which does not require great concentration or just talk! Humans are social animals and a prolonged time working by yourself can take a toll on your mental health. Take breaks for your friends, family and loved ones. After all you work to live and not vice versa.