The science of breaks

By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, July 16, 2014 At 11:40 AM

Yesterday there was an article going around Facebook about how taking smartphone breaks at work can make you feel more positive about your workday.  It's something a lot of us freelancers already know: We are more productive when we allow ourselves breaks in between focused working sessions.

Of course, as the article points out, if you take an hour-long break, your productivity will go downhill, but a few minutes can boost your mood.  The problem I have -- and I'm sure many freelancers will relate -- is keeping that break to just a few minutes when there isn't someone looking over my shoulder, as in an office environment.

One way to resolve that problem that I've found is taking a break from something that requires a lot of focus, in order to do something that is still "work" but is a more relaxed task.  For instance, right now I am taking a break from an article in order to write this blog post.  It's a perfect arrangement, since I get my break and I still feel like I'm doing something productive.

I'm also happy to have a break in my regular summer schedule while the kids are in their all-day camps.  I've had things to do the other mornings this week, but today I'm able to hang out at home, get some freelance work done, and clean.  It's amazing how much of a luxury that feels like, after six weeks of a busy summer schedule!  Better yet, it makes me feel like I have time to take a break to write a blog post.

What about you?  What are your experiences with breaks -- love them, hate them, or can't trust yourself to take them because you might get distracted?

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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