You wake up early morning and decide that you are going to work your ass off today. You glue yourself to your desk, put your mind to the task, and manage to squeeze 16 hours without taking rest breaks at work! You do that for three days at a stretch.
What happens the next day? Your productivity level drops.
Taking wise, pre-planned breaks is one of the least harnessed (but the most essential) tools inside an entrepreneur’s productivity toolbox. If you are still not buying the idea, here are 3 good reasons why taking rest breaks at work is more important than the actual tasks.
1Breaks trigger your brain’s diffuse mode
Studies show that your brain works in two complementary but contrasting modes: the focused and the diffused.
From a layman’s perspective, the focused mode is when concentrated thinking takes place. It happens when a person gives his full attention to the task at hand. The diffused mode, on the other hand, is more of a relaxing state where you just work with the flow.
Interestingly, your brain can never be in both states at the same time.
When you take a break, your mind enters into a diffuse mode. This mode tends to create a room for creativity and is usually where most of the revolutionary ideas pop.
Studies show that being in the focused mode for excessive periods often leads to “Einstellung effect”. It’s a phenomenon where you find yourself stuck in a problem because your mind is pre-programmed to solve it in a pre-defined manner.
Your car has to pass through an under-bridge that is an inch shorter than your car’s height. How do you solve the problem? While most intellectual engineers crack their heads to get it done, a child might simply point out that puncturing the tires would do the job.
Is the child smarter than those professionals?
The smartest of the engineers would probably restrict themselves into thinking about the mechanics of the car or the construction of the bridge simply because their brains are wired into thinking that way.
The above illustration is a perfect example of how Einstellung tremendously impacts our ability to produce innovative thoughts.
So how do you avoid this deadly effect?
Avoid staying in the focused mode for too long. Whenever you feel drowned in your thoughts, go outside for a few minutes to take a break.
2It helps free your working memory
Your brain has a “working memory” constituting of everything you’re thinking of at the moment. Most of us have roughly four slots of that memory available while some people can have as many as nine.
When you think of something, it occupies your working memory before moving to the long-term space. It is pretty obvious that your working space can get filled easily if you always do deep work.
Have you ever felt frustrated after working for long hours at a stretch? Overloaded working memory is the culprit.
Taking rest breaks at work helps your mind assimilate these thoughts and move them to the long term space, thereby freeing up your valuable slots.
Tip: Consider writing down pending tasks at hand before taking a break. This would take away the pain of having to recall the tasks.
See Also: 5 Top Weird Brain Facts
3You feed yourself some love
When you take a break, you stand a chance to open yourself up to the world. You get to observe the scenic, innate beauty of nature as you take a walk in the park.
You get to realize how blessed you are to have a loving family and a friends’ circle. More importantly, it will help you realize how beautiful life is.
Recent studies reveal that emotional intelligence (EQ) might be more important than your IQ for your success. And how do you develop your EQ? Simple, you just have to steal some of your working hours to interact with the world.
I hope this article helped you in understanding the importance of taking regular rest breaks at work and not overworking yourself.
What do you do while taking breaks? What is your favorite recreation activity?