Taking breaks from work should be a fundamental part of everyone’s working routine. Whether you’re writing an essay, revising for an exam or reading, taking regular breaks helps us to function at our best.
A 2017 study by the British Psychological Society identified these 3 characteristics of being engaged in your work:
“Vigour – high levels of energy and mental resilience while working.
Dedication – being strongly involved in one’s work and experiencing a sense of significance, enthusiasm and challenge.
Absorption – being fully concentrated and happily engrossed in one’s work, whereby time passes quickly and one has difficulties with detaching oneself from work.” (British Psychological Society, 2017, p.21)
Without regular breaks you’re unlikely to be able to maintain this level of engagement with your work!
What you do with your breaks can also be very influential on your productivity. We’d suggest taking breaks away from your primary work device (e.g. laptop), away from your desk, and to incorporate some physical activity into your breaks. Even the simple act of moving into a different room can shift your focus and push your working brain into a rest period.
Don’t feel guilty for taking breaks, author Daniel Pink has this excellent advice; “Breaks are part of performance, not a deviation from performance.” (Pink, 2018)
British Psychological Society, 2017. Psychology at work: Improving wellbeing and productivity in the workplace. [Online]. [Accessed 2nd April 2020]. Available from: https://www.bps.org.uk/sites/www.bps.org.uk/files/Policy/Policy%20-%20Files/Psychology%20at%20work%20-%20improving%20wellbeing%20and%20productivity%20in%20the%20workplace.pdf
Pink, D. 2018. All Things Considered. [Podcast]. [Accessed 2nd April 2020]. Available from: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/17/578666036/daniel-pinks-when-shows-the-importance-of-timing-throughout-life