Everyone is always looking for the secret to being productive. We try different tips and tricks to make the most out of our time, some of them work…and others…not so much.
After years of trying to figure out the secret to productivity, I finally found it.
The true secret to productivity is taking breaks. That's right - taking enough breaks throughout your day is what will help you reach your full potential.
It may seem pretty counterintuitive at first, but I hope that after explaining why it’s so effective, you’ll be on board.
Breaks allow your mind and body to rest.
There are three main benefits to taking breaks, and the first one is pretty self-explanatory.
Taking breaks allows your mind and body to rest.
This morning, I woke up at about 6AM, jumped right into work, and ended up feeling ready for a long break at about 10AM.
So, I took one. I shut my computer for a bit and just cleaned up around my home. I think a common misconception is that breaks have to be you doing nothing - but I don’t think that’s always the case.
I like to take active breaks.
For example, I’ll take a break from work to do the dishes, read a book, exercise, etc.
Doing this allows me to feel rested without starting to feel unmotivated.
Think of it like taking a break from the task at hand.
DISCLAIMER: Don't get me wrong! Taking breaks where you DO do nothing is also completely okay and encouraged. It's your break - you decide how you spend it.
It’s important that we allow our minds and bodies to rest throughout the day, so I would really recommend taking multiple breaks as time goes on.
A great tip for this is to use the Pomodoro technique. This will time you for 25-minute intervals with 5-minute breaks in between (leading up to a longer break after a few sessions.)
Breaks recharge your creativity.
Similar to the first point, breaks also help you recharge your creativity. While you’re resting your mind and body, you’re simultaneously recharging your creativity.
Going back to the original example I referenced earlier - I woke up, got to work, and took a break.
Now, I’m sitting here, after an hour break, writing this post while feeling a new wave of creativity.
This is really how breaks start to relate to productivity. When you try and be productive without the energy to do so, you’ll almost always fall short.
Breaks prevent burnout and exhaustion.
And last but definitely not least, breaks help you to prevent burnout and exhaustion.
How many times do you hear about the person who worked so hard that they eventually burnt out?
It happens ALL. THE. TIME.
It can be hard to know when to turn off, when to take a break. But if we never make time for it, we just end up being forced to take an extended break later down the road.
I used to think that by working long hours, I was being my most productive self. But those 12 hour days only made me need to take a week (and sometimes longer) break in order to get back on my feet.
By taking breaks before we completely work ourselves into the ground, we allow for prolonged productivity - and that’s been the key for me.
Working on a project for a week straight with little to no sleep always left me never wanting to look at the project again.
But working on a project for a few hours a day (with breaks!) left me inspired to continue for months on end.
Creating balance in our schedules is truly key here, and remembering to take breaks is a vital part of that.
So, that’s the real secret to productivity, and I hope it helps you achieve your goals!