Take Breaks for Better Efficiency

Human productivity is an important aspect of the modern world of business. This article is all about how businesspersons can become more productive when they take a break; as many as possible during work hours. Business energy efficiency is not only important for doing precision work but also for achieving a higher rate of efficiency.

1. Defining Productivity

Let’s define productivity first. Productivity can be defined in many different ways and one of the most popular quotes on productivity is by Paul Robin Krugman, a distinguished professor of economics and winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He says (The Age of Diminishing Expectations (1994)), “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run, it is almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker.” Here note his emphasis on the individual worker.

According to Krugman, productivity is measurable and the metrics depend on the purpose.

2. Statistics on Taking Breaks

Invariably most industrial and business psychologists agree that pushing too hard does not necessarily improve productivity – taking a break often, on the other hand, is certain to bring about improvement though not everyone agrees on how many breaks or how frequently during working time. One thing on which everyone agrees is that taking a break away from a task that is defying a solution will help to find a solution later.

Here is some statistical information:

  1. Research has shown that sleep deprivation can affect office productivity. Researchers recommend that a midday break can help your brain to work better and in a more coordinated fashion.
  2. Whether employers like it or not, workers take time off for rest; most often than believed. These rests are in disguised forms – doing non-core activities that require less concentration.
  3. Researchers say that fatigue is controllable and can improve the networking hours of employees. They observe that: there was an improvement in productivity when the short breaks included stretching exercises.
  4. Here is one from neuroscientist Mark Waldman, a reputed scientist and author of many books on training the brain for happiness and improving productivity. He says, “The research has found that taking breaks during each hour to consciously relax, stretch, meditate, or do something pleasurable–even for 10 seconds–will reduce stress, enhance your awareness, and significantly boost your concentration and productivity.”

3. Taking Breaks – How Often?

The number of times an individual needs to take a break is a subjective issue and broadly it depends upon the activity. Many researchers are of the opinion that humans need a rest period every 90 minutes of work.

A few business development consultants recommend longer rest time but not always it’s affordable. Rest, according to business development consultants is not going to sleep but doing anything that does not work. Thus browsing on the computer is rest for someone who is working on machines but not for a computer programmer who is mostly glued to the monitor.

Here is what some professional business counselors/sleep experts/psychologists recommend:

  1. This is for those who work on computers. Do somebody movements like stretching your leg, back, neck, and hand muscles. If you can walk around, do it and if you can just get out of the office and walk on the road it is better still.
  2. For those who can’t leave their workplace, just shift from your work focus and start to do something different. You can read the daily newspaper or write a budget for your home or even talk to someone in your family. Virtually anything that does not work helps. The simple rule is it should not tax your brain.
  3. If you are the boss, call in your staff and discuss an idea that has been in your mind. But make sure that the meeting agenda is light and the discussion is casual.
  4. Try to clear out a few things not related to your work. You can, for example, clear those unwanted bills, ATM tabs, and bus tickets that have been lying around on your desk.

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