When your brain is warped, the easy thing to do is zone out on social media, checking to see what Chrissy Teigen had for dinner last night or finding out which Game of Thrones character you are. You tell yourself, “I need this.” Sure, fine. But know that you’re not really recharging.
Many of us take “breaks” throughout the day — we’ll mindlessly browse Instagram or even do something productive like make a doctor’s appointment or order a new lightbulb to replace the one that just went out. It’s not that we shouldn’t do these things, but labelling such tasks as breaks can give us a false sense of balance.
On 99U, author Laura Vanderkam explains that these are “fake breaks,” and they affect how much work we get can done.
The human brain can only concentrate for so long. When we don’t take real breaks, we take fake ones, cruising around on the web following click-bait links. Paradoxically, you can work more hours (that is, real hours) by taking a purposeful break every few hours or so.
Go outside. Call a loved one. You’ll return to your desk recharged and ready to go.
Real breaks give your mind and body a needed release. If you have an hour, you can experience a huge reset with a hike, long bath (sans iPad), massage or therapy session. But even if your break must be much shorter — say, 10 or 15 minutes — you can still gain clarity from a quick walk, guided meditation or phone call with a friend.
Just make sure your break is purposeful, as Vanderkam writes. This is what you need — not another internet quiz.