To Work Better, Break Every 52 Minutes

And make those breaks 17 minutes' long: study
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2014 10:01 AM CDT
To Work Better, Break Every 52 Minutes
To be more productive, try taking more breaks.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)

To maximize your productivity, you should probably be spending a lot more time not working. At least, that is, according to a study that finds we should take 17-minute breaks after every 52 minutes of work. The idea, the Muse reports, is to treat those 52-minute work periods "as sprints," while during the breaks, "we’re talking completely dedicating yourself to not working," Julia Gifford writes. Her team used an app called DeskTime, which keeps track of what workers are doing, to determine the habits of the highest-achieving 10% of employees studied.

Researchers have long said that the human brain isn't designed for eight straight hours of focusing, Fast Company reports. And sitting for eight hours isn't good for us either, the Muse notes. Instead, we should take breaks—and actually get away from our computers, perhaps taking a walk, talking with coworkers, or getting a healthy snack. If your boss isn't cool with 17-minute breaks, 5- or 10-minute breaks could be helpful, too, Gifford writes. (Speaking of all that sitting, here's how to walk back the damage it's doing.)

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