Prioritizing your day is the most important thing you can do to help achieve your goals.
But spending your whole day working hard and being productive can lead to something that can halt your success…
Burnout is such a huge problem for everyone especially if you are trying to accomplish A LOT every day.
Which is where the art of breaks comes into play. Breaks are what you mentally (and depending on your goals, physically) need to stay sane.
If you burnout too much you can end up completely stopping or giving up on your goals. So for the sake of your dreams, don’t be afraid of taking breaks that are timed CORRECTLY and are EFFICIENT.
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Why breaks are important?
Burning out is the easiest way to give up on your goals.
You put so much time and effort into working hard and getting to that goal that your brain and/or body end up giving out on you and you start to feel like “why keep trying”.
Which is where the art of carefully timed and placed breaks comes into play.
Taking a break gives your brain a time to re-set and refresh. Making it so that when you come back from the break you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next project.
Still wondering why you need to take breaks?
Coming back refreshed after taking a break means that your brain can tackle new problems and there is increased creativity and productivity.
Taking breaks also helps increase your memory- it helps your brain have time to deeply absorb the information rather than continuing to cram your brain with new information to memorize. Very helpful if you are a student or working on memorizing a speech or presentation.
*Students- for more advice on not cramming check out: Never Do Another All Nighter.
How long and often should the breaks be?
The best advice I have is to take alternating breaks. Every 1.5-2 hours take a 10 minute break and every 4 hours take a 30 minute break.
Vary those slightly if you find that you need a little more or a little less time to come back focused and ready to work hard.
Why 10 minutes and 30? Because too much shorter (5 minutes or less really) you don’t get enough time to like your brain reset its self. You won’t feel any more efficient after the break and really it just becomes a waste of a couple of minutes every hour.
Any more (45 is the cap I recommend) and you will start to fully switch off of work mode and into relaxation mode. Making it harder to go back into work and meaning that you basically have to restart your brain and body the same way you did when you started your day.
Ultimately meaning that your break cost you more time and productivity than it actually helped with.
When should the breaks be?
A large part of making breaks a helpful part of your day is to time when you take the breaks correctly.
You don’t want to be focused in on a task and really getting hard work done and then BAM an alarm goes off on your phone to go take a break. That will pull your focus away from the task at hand and get you pulled off of your train of thought.
Time your breaks to be at the end of certain tasks even if that means they aren’t perfectly planned throughout the day. Sometimes your 30 minute break will need to be at 12:15 rather than 12:00 and that is totally fine if that means you were able to completely finish a task.
I also never recommend taking breaks within the first hour of starting your work time or ending it.
Those hours are the easiest to get distracted and lose motivation. So try to keep your breaks spaced throughout the main 80% of your day. Don’t let yourself take a break 30 minutes before you’re done for the day or you won’t get any productivity in those last 30 minutes.
Also- if there is a certain time of the day that you find yourself struggling to stay focused and motivated then try to plan a break around that time.
I always start to kind of “crash” around 3:30pm so I try to time a 10 minute break from 3:30-3:40 to get me over that crash and help me re-focus for the rest of my work day.
The other parts of the Learn to Prioritize series:
Make sure to share any of your tips and tricks for taking breaks and how they help you prioritize your day and stay on track!