Why Taking Frequent Breaks Is Good Business
Do you ever feel like you're stuck in a never-ending cycle of work? You're not alone. It's pretty common to feel overwhelmed by an endless stream of tasks. It's also very stressful to be a business owner in America. According to a recent survey, 70% of entrepreneurs and small business owners in the US report feeling stressed on a daily basis. This is unsurprising when you consider that most people are juggling multiple roles and responsibilities.
Stress is also a major problem in the workplace. A study by the American Psychological Association found that employee stress is on the rise, with nearly one in four employees reporting that they feel extremely stressed by their work. It's estimated that stress costs American businesses $300 billion each year in lost productivity. And it's not just businesses that suffer – employees do too. Stress from being overworked and overwhelmed can lead to all sorts of health problems, including heart disease, anxiety, and depression. But what if I told you that taking a breather here and there can actually help you?
Did you know that taking breaks is good for your productivity? It's true! Frequent short breaks help to reduce stress, keep your energy levels up, and improve your focus. In fact, research shows that the human brain works better after a break. So if you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, take a few minutes to step away from your work and relax. You'll be surprised at how refreshed and focused you'll feel when you come back!
As you're reading our article, you might be thinking "why is Mac Digital writing about taking breaks? Aren't they a marketing company who does web design, SEO, and social media, so why do they care if people are taking breaks or not?"
Well, that's a good question. We were thinking something along those lines because we wanted to stay in our lane. But come think, after all, our mission was to help businesses grow. Did you know that you as an individual are a business as well? Even if you're an employee at a company, you are still a business. Think of it this way, your business is your life, you are the CEO, and your job is to make sure that the business (i.e. your life) is running smoothly and efficiently, hopefully. This means setting goals, making plans, taking action to achieve those goals, and taking care of yourself – both physically and mentally.
Robert Kiyosaki said it perfectly in regards to how to live your life: Mind your own business.
Why Take A Break
So different professions demand different physical and mental intensities to succeed in them. For example, being a bartender at a local bar requires being on your feet for long periods of time and dealing with customers, while being a writer at The Kalamazoo Times (we made it up) requires sitting down for long periods of time and using your brain to think about ideas. Being a mechanical engineer at Boeing requires a lot of mental power and being nimble with your hands as you must be precise and focused while being a Securities Trader at Morgan Stanley requires you to be super attentive and focused on reading what's in front of you and acting fast. The intensity of work and focus varies per different industry. However, you still need to take a break after working for a long time.
For example, Elon Musk is the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla Motors, NeuraLink and the Boring Company. As one of the most innovative and successful entrepreneurs, he's running 4 businesses. How does he do it you may ask?
He usually works 100 hours a week. But even he knows that you can't work all the time. In an interview with The Guardian, Musk said "there were times when I worked 120 hours a week. There were times I worked seven days a week...I tried to take a break every eight hours, just walk around the block or something, otherwise you can work yourself into an early grave."
These are not frequent breaks at all, but this guy is the CEO of four companies, an engaged engineer, very active in product development, and extremely dedicated to his life's mission. But everyone needs a break or you won't be able function at all.
Prevent Decision Fatigue
Decision fatigue is a real thing. It can have a serious impact on the quality of your decisions. It's the feeling of being overwhelmed or bogged down by too many decisions, and it deteriorates the quality of your decision-making.
If you're constantly having long decision-making sessions, your brain will eventually wear down and start making mistakes. It can lead to simplistic decision-making and procrastination. That's why you must give your brain a chance to reset and prevent you from making careless mistakes.
Boost Productivity & Improve Creativity
Giving yourself a break time allows your mind a chance to reset and refocus. Getting sufficient rest can help you come up with new ideas and be more productive when you return to work. Additionally, studies have shown that short breaks can help reduce stress and improve your overall health, which can also lead to better work performance.
According to research, "Aha moments" come more often to those who take regular breaks. So next time you're feeling overwhelmed at work or struggling to come up with new ideas, try taking a break – it just might help you get back on track. And who knows, maybe taking more breaks will even help your business grow!
How Often Should You Take Breaks?
While a good rule of thumb is to just take a break when your brain is exhausted, different researchers have different opinions:
- University of Illinois study advocates a break once every hour
- Time-tracking app, Desktime, states the most productive people work for 52 minutes, and then take a break for 17 minutes
- The Pomodoro Technique involves working for 25 minutes, and then taking a five-minute break. This cycle is repeated four times, and then you take a longer break of 20-30 minutes for every 90 minutes
Ultimately, you know what what works best for your and makes you the most efficient.
How To Have Effective Breaks
We’ve all been there – it’s mid-afternoon, we’re struggling to keep our eyes open, and all we can think about is taking a nap. But instead of giving in to fatigue, consider going for a walk outside. We at Mac Digital strongly support this because walking has been shown to improve focus and concentration. Also, standing up and walking around for a little bit is found to lift a person's mood and combat lethargy and can also dull hunger pangs.
Did you know the average person needs about 15 minutes of exposure to Vitamin D? Walking outside allows you to get exposure to the sun so you get your daily essential dose of D which is good for your health.
Meditate Throughout the Day
Another way to cure your stress is through periodic mediation. If you can find just five to ten minutes each day to sit in silence and let your thoughts run, you'll be amazed at how much more productive, creative, and happy you'll be. And those are just a few of the benefits of meditation. Here are some appropriate times to meditate:
- First thing in the morning before work
- During your lunch break
- In the evening after work
- Or whenever you're stressed
Taking a Nap
Napping has been shown to increase productivity by as much as 34%. In a study done at the University of Michigan, it was found that those who took taps for 30 minutes were able to maintain their energy levels throughout the day better than those who did not nap at all. An hour produces even better results!
When you are sleep-deprived, your brain is working harder than it needs to and this can lead to errors and decreased productivity. Napping allows your brain to recharge, so you can come back to work feeling more alert and focused.
Get a Healthy Snack
You know what they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, we’re not here to talk about apples, per se. But we are here to talk about how getting a healthy snack is essential for anyone looking to maintain energy levels and avoid the dreaded afternoon slump.
When you’re working hard on a project, your brain is using up energy at a rapid pace. To refuel and keep going, you need to give it some nutrient-rich fuel in the form of food. Otherwise, you run the risk of running out of energy entirely and having your productivity take a nosedive.
So, what are some good options for healthy snacks that will give you the energy you need to power through your workday? Here are some good ones:
- Avocado toast
- Greek yogurt
- A piece of fruit like a banana or apple
Social Media's A No-No
While it may seem scrolling through social media would be a good way to relieve stress, in reality, it can have the opposite effect. Studies have shown that too much time on social media can lead to increased levels of anxiety and depression. And as far as productivity goes, well, let’s just say that mindlessly scrolling through your feed will tire you out and give you zombie eyes.
Start Relaxing Now
So there you have it! Taking breaks may seem like they would be detrimental to your productivity, but in reality, they can actually help you stay on track and avoid burnout. Taking breaks is essential for business owners because it increases productivity, reduces stress levels and promotes good health - all of which are important factors in business success. By incorporating short break times into their daily routine, business owners can ensure that their employees are producing at their best.