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Taking breaks makes you more productive, less overwhelmed

overwhelmed businessman at his messy desk

No one can stay productive at a desk like this without regular breaks

How often do you feel overwhelmed with things?

How often do you feel quiet – no tweets, emails or status updates firing at, no phone calls or client/boss requests, no attempts at reducing a to do list?

As I mentioned a few days ago, I heard a webinar in which Matthew May spoke about his book,  The Laws of Subtraction (6 simple rules for winning in the age of excess everything).

I intend reading this book, and will review it in this blog, as I am very conscious of how much stuff business people have to deal with. We’ve always had to deal with multiple roles (accounts, marketing, sales, staffing, production, etc) but now we have digital presence and technical changes to keep up with as well.

I am also thinking of reading one of his other books, The Shibumi Strategy (A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change). It sounds interesting and apparently is written as a story rather than in typical business book mode.

 Taking and making breaks

Matthew’s fifth law is ‘break is the important part of breakthrough’ and I think that will be a very interesting chapter. I think breakthroughs can change lives – whether it is a breakthrough new product that changes the world or a simpler breakthrough on a better way to deal with a difficult client or finding a new tool that will save you time.

Any break from routine/habit/patterns can make us look around, take notice and see the things we take for granted most of the time. Then we can be more creative and find solutions or new ideas.

I like the idea of regularly getting away from my desk – and by regularly I mean once an hour or so – but I admit I often get caught up in things and stay working for longer than I probably should.

So I want to ask how you fit breaks into your working day/week. Is it something you plan or do you ‘go with the flow’?

What do you do in your breaks?

One Response to Taking breaks makes you more productive, less overwhelmed

  • Tash Hughes says:

    About time I answered my own question, I think!

    Whilst I don’t always take breaks every hour, when I do my aim is also to leave my desk and to move a bit. Sometimes it is as simple as walking to the letter box and back or doing a lap of the house, or I might try and do a few exercises.

    If they’re home, I sometimes have a quick cuddle and chat r play with my children – a quick tickle fight or reading a short book doesn’t take long but is a break from work and keeps me connected to my children.

    Other things I do include walking outside and standing in the sun for a few minutes, going for a walk, hanging out a load of washing, tidying the house a little and high intensity bursts on the exercise bike (three 20 second bursts to be precise, thanks to a TV show I watched a while ago).

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