Study Reveals How to Take Better Work Breaks

For starters, don't wait until the afternoon
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2015 9:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – Did you just get caught taking a few minutes to update your fantasy football team or Instagram your lunch? Just tell your boss it's making you a better worker. Two researchers from Baylor University recently published a study after looking at the break habits of 95 workers to identify a better break. "What we found was that a better workday break was not composed of many of the things we believed," researcher Emily Hunter says in a press release. For example, it turns out, midmorning—not afternoon—is the best time for a break. "You should pace yourself, similar to how plants should be watered early in the day before getting distressed from a long day in the sun," Hunter tells the Huffington Post.

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Second, don't use the time to run errands. Breaks should be composed of an activity you enjoy—even, counterintuitively, if it's work-related. (Like some kind of "passion project," in the words of HuffPo.) Finally, the researchers found frequent, smaller breaks are ideal over a singular, longer break. "Unlike your cellphone, which popular wisdom tells us should be depleted to 0% before you charge it fully to 100%, people instead need to charge more frequently throughout the day," Hunter says. While they didn't identify an ideal break length, the Huffington Post reports previous studies have shown as little as five minutes away from work can improve productivity. By following their advice for better breaks, researchers say employees will experience less mental and physical burnout. (Others say a lunchtime walk will cure your work woes.)

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