Whether you work from home, at an office, or on the road, you may feel pressure to work continuously without taking breaks. This philosophy come from the old school “more is more” camp, which focuses on hard work, rather than what truly makes us as effective and efficient as possible.
Ironically many people don’t take breaks because they think that it will make them more productive. They think that they’ll get more done if they use the time to work or take a “working lunch.” The opposite is true.
Taking a work break is very helpful in restoring energy and reducing stress. Peak performers push themselves and then take strategic breaks. It’s like working out a muscle- you want to exercise it until it’s tired and then give adequate recovery before exercising it again.
In addition to brief stretching and mental breaks during the day, I advocate making good use of your lunch break. A lunch break can also be a great time to network with coworkers and build your work relationships.
And of course the nutrition from a healthy lunch boosts energy and reduces susceptibility to mood difficulties (depression, anxiety, burnout).
I recommend that people be strategic about their lunch breaks by considering:
1) The purpose of the lunch break (networking, rest, etc.)
2) Their personalities. Introverts, for example, will rejuvenate better with solo time, while extroverts reenergize by chatting with others.
3) The minimum amount of time to achieve their goal. As little as 15 minutes can serve to reset set-points if utilized effectively.
4) Getting out of the office. A simple change in scenery can make a major difference in replenishing energy for peak performance.
If you are unsure, try it out and see what works for you. When you find the best ways to use your breaks, you’re likely to see that they improve the quality of your work and your mood throughout the workday.