I talk with people every day who believe that working longer hours allows them to get more done. The truth is, adding hours to your work day is likely not producing better or more work. In fact, evidence points to the contrary. Decades of research shows that we humans produce better work when we take time for short mental breaks during our work day.
After months of research to launch BreakTogether, this message stands out: Mindful work breaks are crucial to happiness and productivity.
Harvard conducted research in the the late 1920’s that revealed increased productivity after mid-morning and afternoon breaks, which ultimately led to scheduled breaks as part of the labor movement and the beginning of human resources protecting the rights of workers.
Somehow that thinking has not followed us into the 21st century working in office and technology environments, yet it is just as important. We need to bring back the work break. Think recess for adults.
As much as people may agree that breaks are important, as Ron Friedman points out in the Harvard Business Review, it is really difficult to actually take them. Changing our work day is possible. Whenever I am trying to build a new healthy habit, it makes a big difference when I am doing it with someone else, which leads me to an idea.
5 Day Challenge: For the next 5 work days try this:
Set 15 minutes in your schedule both mid-morning and mid-afternoon in addition to taking an actual lunch break for at least 30 minutes. Ask a friend or co-worker to break with you.
It’s only 5 days. I know you can do it and you will feel much better when you try. Send me a note with your progress (firstname.lastname@example.org), and upload a picture of your break on the BreakTogether Facebook page.