If You Think Taking a Break Helps Productivity, Think Again
A new study by Baylor University sheds more light on the relationship between workday breaks and productivity — all the while debunking a few commonly-believed myths in the process.
The study followed 95 employees over the course of five days, analyzing a total of 959 study breaks over that period. As it turns out, traditional wisdom regarding workday breaks doesn’t hold up against empirical scrutiny.
Here’s a quick summary of the findings:
- Mid-morning breaks are more replenishing than afternoon breaks.
- No evidence that non-work-related activities are better.
- “Preferred” activities are more replenishing than “non-preferred” activities — even if those preferred activities are related to work.
- Frequent short breaks are more replenishing than fewer long breaks.
What does this mean for you? Consider skipping your morning inbox cleanses and save your emails for mid-morning breaks instead. As long as you’re doing something that you want to do during your break, it should come with a healthy dose of rejuvenation.
We still recommend exercising at your desk whenever possible, but you don’t have to.
When do you take breaks during the day? And what do you do during those breaks? Do these findings resonate with your own experiences? Tell us about it in the comments!
Image Credit: Red Coffee Mug by Andrii Muzyka via Shutterstock