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Posted by on in Best Practices

How to Be More Productive by Not Working

b2ap3_thumbnail_89642153_break_work_400.jpgEvery so often, even the best employee needs to take a break for the sake of their mental well-being. Just like the devices we all use every day, our brains need a chance to charge back up. Without a chance to de-stress and decompress, we are all vulnerable to burnout. Here, we go over a few ways you and your employees could refresh yourselves.

Of course, there is always the other key question that goes along with asking how… asking when.

Judging When You (Really) Need a Break
There are a few reliable warning signs that someone needs to step away for a moment. For instance, while someone may be prone to typos, there’s a difference between always making spelling and grammar errors versus specifically starting to make them seven hours into a Wednesday.

Alternatively, some workers will grow disinterested in their work and just start going through the motions. In severe cases, they may detach entirely, causing accuracy, morale, and productivity to plummet. If you see yourself start to display these symptoms, do yourself a favor and step away for a few moments. What follows are a few things that often help employees recover more quickly, allowing them to promptly refresh themselves and return to their duties.

Read Something (Else)
Much of the time, it isn’t so much that we’re doing something, but more of what it is that we are doing. We’ve all been stuck doing something we don’t want to do, so we all know how draining it can feel to do it. If you or your employees find yourself losing focus, take a few minutes and change gears. Reading can help you to get your mind off of what you were just working on, especially if it’s about something totally unrelated to your task. This shift can help your gears recalibrate, enabling you to resume your initial task with aplomb.

Escape the Office (Briefly)
On the other side of the coin, productivity can often be interrupted by a sense of restlessness--a desire to move around a little, not so much a slip into passivity. Either way, actually separating yourself from your work tools and getting a breath of fresh air can have a significant impact on maintaining productivity. Trying to force yourself to focus can often have a detrimental effect on productivity, which is why skipping breaks and meals is often counterproductive. Instead, try actually leaving the office on your breaks, actually getting something to eat on lunch and going for a brief walk or drive when the opportunity arises. Sometimes, you might just need a literal change of scenery to focus up.

Get the Blood Pumping
On a related note, taking a walk can contribute to our final way of more productively taking a break: exercise! Taking a few moments to up your heart rate, if only by a little bit, can have a lot of long-term benefits to the work experience. Not only is it a way to improve overall health, it has been shown to boost focus among those who exercise habitually. Plus, being tired isn’t great for focus as a rule, so the improved sleep that exercise can promote can help that way as well.

In order to produce their best work, your employees need to be in the position, both mentally and physically, to do so. How do you stay refreshed in the office? Share your strategies in the comments!

Symmetry Managed Services CEO Dan Tracy has spent the past 15 years providing technology consulting to small and mid size businesses.


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