The clock reads 1:35 A.M. and you’re just sitting down to start writing your final English paper that is due tomorrow. You’re incredibly tired from the impressive sleep debt you’ve racked up from the previous week, but you want to get this paper done as soon as you can so that you can go to bed, so you’re obviously going to white-knuckle through this unbearable sleep spell and finish that paper! Have you done that before? Turns out, however, that you could have taken a 30-minute nap to refresh and then written a much higher quality paper in half the time.
Productivity is not something that can be as easily forced as we think it can be. According to a recent Forbes article, it is much more efficient to take care of our bodies by taking serious lunch breaks, napping when we need to, socializing with co-workers, getting up from our desk to move around during the day, and even goofing off! When we do this, productivity will come much more naturally and we will be much more effective and efficient workers.
In fact, according to a story featured in the New York Times, researchers on productivity have found that working in intense 15-minute time chunks separated by breaks is more effective than trying to work continuously for longer periods of time. Research has also found a connection between chatting with co-workers and increased productivity, as well as physical movement and increased productivity.
If you’re not in the mood to ask your co-workers about their weekend or take a lap around the block, here are some other ideas for small breaks during the work day:
- Run an errand if time permits.
- Check LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. (And Jobma, of course! You could even shoot a new video resume.)
- Take your lunch outside instead of eating at your desk.
- Play a quick game on your phone.
- Read a blog post.
- Do a Sudoku puzzle.
- Send an email to a friend.
- Check the online sale section for your favorite store.
So next time your boss calls you out on being a goofball in the office, go ahead and forward him/her this blog post! You’re just trying to ensure that you’re the most productive employee you can be.
Note: Thank you to Forbes for providing the inspiration and sources for this article.