The Best Way to Take Breaks Is to Schedule Them

We are constantly looking for productivity hacks and efficiency tips. And while there are a million suggestions for how to make the most of your workday, there is one tip that seems to surface no matter who is giving the advice; take scheduled breaks.

According to a study recently published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, relaxation time is more efficient when it's planned in advance. It seems that having some semblance of a schedule — with a division between work time and relaxation time — helps to make both work and play more beneficial. Additionally, switching between different tasks helps you to do each task better.

A section of the study excerpted in Refinery29 talks about why structure is important. "The issue with [the more flexible] approach seemed to be that people failed to recognize when rigid thinking crept in. Participants who didn't step away from a task at regular intervals were more likely to write 'new' ideas that were very similar to the last one they had written. While they might have felt that they were on a roll, the reality was that, without the breaks afforded by continual task switching, their actual progress was limited."

The major finding here is really how key breaks are and that taking a little time off from a task can make your performance that much better. So schedule that afternoon respite and take that morning walk, they will both help you get down to work when you return to the task at hand.