Boost Your Productivity by Taking a Break

May 3, 2012Heal from the past, Work Uncaged

I instinctively thought that if I crammed more things into my day, I’d be more productive. Which goes to show that my instincts are wonky and can’t always be trusted. Have you ever found that to be true?

Thankfully, I stumbled upon an amazing and helpful book entitled The Power of Full Engagement by Loehr and Schwartz. Here it is:

This book reinforces the idea of a Biblical Sabbath. Resting fully once a week does wonders for our bodies, minds and hearts.

The authors speak of managing energy rather than time and tout the benefits of taking strategic breaks all day long on the days you do work. They found that crazy-busy business executives were actually more productive if they took breaks. But when they plowed through, eliminated their margin, and flirted with burnout, their productivity plummeted and their quality of life diminished significantly.

So I took what they had to say to heart. (I didn’t just blindly trust them. They have scads of research to back up their claims.) I started taking breaks during the day using the Pomodoro Method. In fact, as I blog this, the timer is ticking. Not only does using the method up my productivity (there’s something about hearing that tick-tick-tick that motivates me), but it reminds (forces!) me to stop every 25 minutes and walk around.

When I do this, I am more productive, more energized. When I plow through a day from morning to night without a break, my ability to complete tasks lag. God has given us only so much energy (so we can learn to rely on Him!), so in a sense resting is an acknowledgement of our own limitations. But it’s also a means of great gain–of getting more done in less time.

What about you? How have you learned to take strategic breaks? What have you learned when you don’t? Any hints and suggestions for the rest of us? Any other book recommendations?