In the United States, we work hard: we work during our lunch breaks, when we’ve officially finished our day in the office, and often even long after, while we are spending time with our families and friends.
Professionals in all different fields of work, from housekeepers to surgeons often work 12-to-16 hours a day, and rarely with any overtime pay. This doesn’t sound very healthy, does it. Don’t get me wrong – working hard is a good thing, it shows that you are ambitious, (often times) that you love your job, and would like to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself in life. However, sometimes hard working people need to take a break in order to breathe and recharge their battery. Many people, especially in America, don’t take this advice seriously, but it is easily possible to integrate small breaks into your working day. You will realize that you already feel better – stronger, and fresher after a short amount of time.
Schedule Your Breaks
One way to help you actually take a small break is to schedule it. Projects can be capturing, so you can simply forget the environment and time around you. Therefore, it’s often helpful to set a timer, actually forcing you to take a five-minute break, during which you can relax by drinking a coffee, tea or simply water; take a walk, eat something, or maybe have a chat with a coworker. Of course, if you have a meeting scheduled at the time you are usually taking your break, just move your break so you can have it after the meeting.
Find a Break Companion
It’s always nicer and more fun to take a break with one else. So get yourself a break buddy! You can share a walk if the sun is shining outside, or find someone that has similar hobbies and interests to chit-chat with. You will realize that you feel more motivated and happier after a 10-minute break with your new break buddy.
In contrast to those of us in America, European workers have a whole different work mentality. The common rumor of European workers is that they work less, spend several weeks per year at the beach, and take long lunches every day. Well, this is not entirely true, because Europeans focus on their work a great deal… but every rumor involves some truth. They stop to work when it is time, and they work fewer hours than their American counterparts. But why is that so? There is the opinion that Europeans appreciate the understanding of la dolce vita more. Which is the Italian expression for “the sweet life”. Even though Europe and the United States have similar economic and social structures, there is still a great cultural divide between them. Europeans seems to just know, inherently, when it is time to finish the work day. And more than that, most of them don’t think about work again until they get up and leave for it the next morning. This may sound a little strange, but it works for them quite well.
There is no need for Americans to adapt to this work-life-style, but it may give us some insight, allowing us to see that it is important to take a break from time to time.
Increase of Productivity
Taking a break can have so many positive effects on you. A break relaxes you and recharges your batteries. As soon as you start on your project again, you will realize that your break has increased your productivity, and by the end of the day, you will have achieved more, say, than without taking a break. It makes you a better worker and helps you stay focused on your tasks from both a short- and long-term perspective. Signs such as daydreaming or getting lost on social media platforms show you that you need a break. Afterwards, you will feel fresher and ready to continue your work.
Taking a break also makes you healthier. Breaks will give you better stamina and improve your physical health. In particular, after staring down at your computer screen for so many hours, it can be a great relief to your eyes, your curved back, and tired bottom to get up and move!
Motivation and productivity are strongly related to each other, because motivation helps you to be productive. Therefore, a break supports your focus and motivates you to get tasks done.
Working a minimum of 40 hours per week can be exhausting. Including some breaks during your office day will help you to get tasks done quicker and with greater ease. And with the physical health benefits added – how could you possibly say no?