We’ve all been guilty of mindlessly scrolling through our phones during work breaks, thinking it will help us relax and recharge. But just the opposite is true. Studies show that this popular break activity ironically further exhausts us. If you’re guilty as charged, you’re not alone. In fact, according to a recent report from Aflac, 97% of us are checking our phones during our breaks.
The truth is that not all breaks are created equally. Some are definitely better than others, as measured by a team of Canadian researchers in a systematic review of over 80 studies on workplace breaks. For example, taking 15 minutes to go for a walk can significantly boost your productivity and energy compared to taking a 15-minute coffee break at your desk. The takeaway is that we need to be mindful of choosing the right activities during our breaks to maximize our effectiveness at work. It’s time to shift our mindsets from “managing our time” to “managing our energy” to maximize our productivity, creativity, and capacity to work well with others.
Here are five tips to help you optimize your work breaks so that you’ll return to work feeling fully recharged and ready to dive back into the tasks at hand.
1. Mind the Time
2. Location, Location, Location
3. Get in Motion
5. Spend time with a furry friend
The key here is the idea of managing our energy when we’re at work. While time management is essential, optimizing our breaks so that we actually boost our energy can significantly impact our overall productivity and satisfaction. Try adding some of these tips and see how prioritizing your energy, not just your time, ultimately leads to better performance and a healthier work-life balance.