4 Steps To Take Intentional Breaks At Work To Boost Productivity

take better breaks at work and boost mood and energy, #careertips, #careeradvice, tips to take more intentional breaks and improve your career

Raise your hand if you find yourself hitting up social media, chatting away with co-workers, daydreaming, or generally wasting your time while you’re supposed to be working ??

raise hand

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! One survey found that 80% of employees waste time at work on non-related tasks. Like playing sudoku, paying bills, catching up with friends? Truthfully, it’s not our fault that we waste this time, the adult attention span lasts for about 20 minutes (we can choose to refocus on the same task after that). It’s completely unrealistic to plow through an entire work day fully engaged in work alone. Our brains need breaks!

Instead of trying to force yourself to respond to that email (you know the one you’ve just read 16 times and you still have no idea what it says), try to take intentional breaks. Breaks that will re-energize you and boost your mood.

4 Steps To Take Intentional Breaks At Work To Boost Productivity:

1. Examine your priorities.

All of the things in your life are not equally important. Somethings mean more to you than others. It’s easy to get caught up in all of your responsibilities, and forget what’s actually meaningful to you. Take the time to make a list of what gives your life purpose and fuels your soul.

[RELATED] Writing Your Life’s Mission Statement

2. Identify what boosts your mood and energy.

Review your list of priorities and star anything that reinvigorates you! By doing things you enjoy during your break, one study found you’re more likely to return to work more energized. Make a list of actions that revitalize you, and support your priorities.

For example: going to yoga, taking a walk or eating lunch outside, Face-Timing friends, watching a favorite TV show, reading a book, playing with puppies in a shelter, etc.

[RELATED] 5 Steps To Make Anything Happen

3. Plan ahead.

Even if you have a totally unpredictable daily schedule, there is usually a certain rhythm, if not a set schedule, for your day. For instance, my mornings are almost always slow AF because I’m not running on all cylinders #GimmeAllTheCoffee.

Take a critical look at your week and figure out what times of day you’re more prone to lulls? Try to plan a break in those times, rather than just “pushing through” them. For many, mid-morning breaks are more likely to boost your concentration and energy levels compared to mid-afternoon breaks. This might mean going to yoga on your lunch break and packing your gear for the day or scheduling a lunch with a friend.

[RELATED] How To Find Extra Hours In Your Day

4. Don’t forget to use small breaks to your advantage.

I guarantee you are taking more 5-15 minute breaks in a given day than you realize. If you don’t believe me, track your time in detail for 48 hours. Mark down every task switch you do down to the minute. Every time you get on Instagram, open emails mindlessly, or daydream. I want it all marked down and if you don’t find a handful of 5-15 minutes that were mindlessly wasted then you weren’t diligent enough.

Use these mini breaks to your advantage! Refer back to your original list of priorities and choose an activity that supports them. For example, developing your spiritual side may be a priority. Use the five minutes to do a meditation or read something that supports your practice.

[RELATED] How To Manifest Anything You Desire

You Might Also Like

  • #2 sounds like a really great idea! It’s easy to do things on a break that leave you feeling even more sluggish. I actually refuse to eat unhealthy food on breaks now because it made working even harder. I’m going to write a list for myself!

  • All these suggestions are only going to help me perform better! I usually make a to-do list at the start of the day, then redefine it as work piles on, so writing everything down kind of becomes a break.
    Thinking ahead is really much needed too!! 🙂

  • Yes to all these! I definitely need to take small breaks and get out in the sunshine when I can during the work day. That helps me and my energy, for sure!

  • Lisa Roe

    Hi Rachel, this reminder comes at just the right time for me! My business has started to get so busy that I am working long days with zero breaks and even into the wee hours of the morning. I need to set some boundaries, priorities and definitely need to schedule breaks. I am going to put break reminders in my phone right now!

  • Such great tips! Small breaks are SO important! I always find that I do better with getting things done at the last minute too, haha. Not the best way to do things but it forces me to get the job done!

  • Kristen Jones

    Love these tips! I love taking mini breaks–they are the perfect recharge that I need! A lot of times I will call my Mom or sister and chit chat and unwind and then I am ready to tackle the remainder of my daily tasks!

  • mckenna bleu

    Great tips! I take frequent breaks at work, they are much needed. And lots of snacks 🙂

  • I need to practice this! I am a multi-tacker, but I get the most work done when I concentrate on one thing (surprise, surprise!) and then take a break! It definitely helps keep me focused.

  • Yolanda

    I’m glad you brought this up as I thought it was just me! When I stare at a computer too long I go CRAZY! I need to get up and walk, talk, eat! I also know that if I hit a certain moment in the afternoon that my creativity is gone. Yet, I also know it comes back strong first thing in the morning – probably because I’ve had a good break and sleep!

  • I definitely get distracted by my phone so I’ll sometimes turn it off completely or put it in another room to avoid temptation. I like to take study breaks to get fresh air…I find it really revitalizes me!

  • This is great considering I feel like I’m always trying to multi task. haha

  • Thena Reading-Franssen

    Breaks are a must. I go for walks every day to help me at work.

  • I always feel bad doing non-work tasks, but honestly I just can’t focus all day on the same thing. I often find myself taking walks, going to find Diet Coke, and taking care of personal things like bills and Instagram haha.

  • Yes! I have those mindless breaks for sure! Using them more productively would definitely be to my benefit!

  • Taking breaks at work is a must for me! I’d go crazy if I just sat at my desk all day and stared at my computer. It always helps to take a quick walk with coworkers or go get a drink/snack! I love your idea of keeping track of break time and seeing how much time is spent on them. I think it’d be really eye-opening for me if I started to do that. I’ll have to try it out.

  • I used to be SO good at scheduling breaks but lately, I’ve been awful. My breaks turn into naps and then I never can get back into the swing of things after, haha. I know I have a good reason, but I’m hoping to curb the napping so I can be more productive!

  • Audrey Knizek

    I get up every hour or so just to make sure i’m not sitting all day. Breaks are imperative for my productivity, just as they were when I was in college studying. Expecting to work for four hours straight with no breaks or distractions is unrealistic in my opinion.

  • I always like to plan my day in advance that way I stay focused, but between projects and campaigns I can take mini-breaks! And, I always try to step away from my desk for lunch.

  • I don’t take nearly enough breaks throughout the day. I’m often amazed when I look at the clock to see the time and realize how long I’ve been sitting in one place. This is definitely something I need to work on.

  • Trish

    This is really helpful! I feel I should take more breaks during the workday. I do take breaks to stretch and sometimes take a short exercise break. Just a 15 minute walk will leave me feeling refreshed and ready to deal with the rest of the workday.

  • Plan plan plan! This has helped me so much! I feel like planning ahead not only helps with productivity but keeps your stress levels down because you’re more organized too!

  • Planning is key and I always take small breaks. You need to stay organized.

  • Patricia Conte

    Been there, done that (I think I’m actually doing it right now)! Thanks for sharing these tips. Planning ahead is something I’m always working on!

  • Anna Hubbard

    God knows I have the attention span of a toothpick, lol! I like the idea of planning ahead & figuring out the best ways to renew your energy!

  • Great tips! Small breaks are my saving grace lol.

  • Elizabeth Johnson

    I love this! With two little ones at home I tend to get side tracked easily. However, when I get my quiet afternoons I like to take short breaks to help keep me on track. I’ll switch over the laundry, that way I get to stretch and feel refreshed when I come back to my desk. Great post!!

  • Knowing what motivates you and boosts your energy is SO important. I love that you reminded me of that, because I have felt so low the past few weeks.

  • I always forget to take intentional breaks. At the same time I know that I have, because I know I would be so much more productive if I did…

  • Examining priorities – SO huge for me. I can be SO bad at intentional breaks, oftentimes because my priorities aren’t where they should be!

  • Planning ahead and small breaks are so key! I am, like, the worst all day long. Working from home is struggle city! Def taking note of these tips!

  • I def waste so much time on Instagram…I need to channel that into something more productive!

  • Taylor Smith

    I am great at making a list that goes from most important to least important! It’s great when I get everything I need in order!

  • Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew

    These are some great tips! I definitely needed to hear these

  • If I don’t take small breaks, I am definitely unproductive. I think taking that 5 minutes every morning to plan ahead and straighten out my priorities helps me be productive, as well!

  • These are great tips! I’m currently taking somewhat of a break lol so using my time to catch up on threads!

  • Breaks are so important — I’m better at my job when I take a minute away to breathe, get some air, socialize, etc. Your body and brain are not meant to work hours and hours in a row without stopping!

  • These are great tips! I am all about the pause button at work. I usually take a 10-15 minute break every two hours of working to walk Theo or grab a snack. On the days I try to work through my lulls, I get so much less done!

  • Logan Elizabeth Abbott

    I used to waste so much time during my workday because I just couldn’t keep focused on my work for a long period of time, but you’re right, I’ve started taking focused breaks during the day to get other, smaller tasks on my to do list done and it really helped! These tips are pretty awesome!

More in Career, Entrepreneurship
things to do when feeling defeated, how to stay motivated, inspiration and motivational tips for 20s
5 Things To Do When You Feel Defeated And Depleted

Close