We've often recommended taking breaks to avoid burnout, reduce eyestrain, and stay motivated throughout the day. Working in focused intervals also can help you get more high-quality work done — in less time, the Harvard Business Review reminds us.
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Multitasking, eating at your desk, and running between meetings all day long might be the way most of us are used to working, but it's dead tiring. Thanks to the law of diminishing returns, HBR writes, it's also not as productive as working in 90 minute stretches with 15 or 20 minute breaks (or even a nap) and a real lunch break. Knowing you have a break coming up can give you the energy to work at full capacity for your 90 minute shift.
The article notes a study, which we've mentioned before, about violinists: The best players practiced in sessions no longer than 90 minutes, took breaks in between, and also took a 20-30 minute nap in the afternoon.
Business site Inc. also lists working in 60 to 90 minute intervals as one of the 7 traits of highly productive people, explaining that:
Your brain uses up more glucose than any other bodily activity. Typically you will have spent most of it after 60-90 minutes. (That's why you feel so burned out after super long meetings.)
So take a break.
How to Accomplish More by Doing Less [Harvard Business Review] >