The American standard work week of 40 hours is higher than many places in the world. It is also something that many Americans do not stick to; many full-time employees work more than 40 hours each week. This works out to more than 8 hours each work day — but of course, just because employees are at work does not necessarily mean they are working the entire time.
Brain breaks boost productivity
A current trend in boosting employee productivity and maintaining employee engagement is to provide opportunities for brain breaks throughout the workday. A brain break is an opportunity to shift your focus and attention away from work onto something fun, low-stakes, and engaging for a few minutes.
Brain breaks have been shown to increase productivity by giving your brain an opportunity to focus on something new. Generally, this provides a fresh boost to creativity when you return to your task. Research suggests that this is due to the fact that even though your conscious attention has shifted to something else, your brain continues to ruminate on the previous problem in the background.
Science backs up the claim that being a workaholic is not the best strategy to achieve high productivity. Rather, it is better to purposefully schedule breaks and set limits to your time in order to maximize your achievements and quality of work during the workday.
Brain break ideas
Brain breaks can take many different forms. Most are easy to implement and train your employees to do. Lots of these brain breaks are things that many adults have naturally discovered as effective strategies for refocusing and regaining their own attention.
- Doodling and coloring: This one is not just for kids. Doodling and coloring can help calm your mind and refocus your attention. Free drawing is a great way to do this, but there has also been a recent surge in coloring books designed for adults.
- Physical activity: This one should be no surprise. Physical activity is a great way to recharge yourself and inspire creativity. Our bodies are designed to move, and exercise is good for our brains. Many companies are even beginning to offer in-office yoga classes. Even five minutes of stretching can be just what your body, and your brain, need to be in top form during the afternoon.
- Being outside: Just as our bodies are meant to move, they are meant be outside. Different parts of your brain are stimulated by being outside, so it is a great way to shift your attention and your thinking. Take a quick walk around the block or have lunch in the park.
- Do something different: Take a few minutes during the day to give yourself a task or activity that you are doing simply for the joy of it. This might be playing a quick game in the office, visiting a friend in your workplace, or watching the aquarium in the lobby — all are great examples of activities you can do for a short amount of time that will still fully engross you.
Brain breaks are a great way to boost your productivity in a manageable way. They can foster creativity and productivity. The key is to give yourself permission to take breaks knowing that it is the best way to boost your productivity.
Learn how performance reviews can accelerate your business growth with the free Ultimate Guide to Performance Reviews eBook. Fill out the form below to download.