Break Away from Work—Briefly!

Posted on: Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
Posted in: HR FYI, Blog | 2 comments

DSC_0124During the work day, how often do we nag ourselves,

Stop drifting!  Focus!  Finish!”

Plenty, probably, since distractions never cease—whether from digitalia, peers, phones, or cravings.  Well, relax.  A recent academic paper states that little breaks actually help—not hinder—productivity.

  • Attention ain’t endless

A University of Illinois professor’s studies found that, among other things, students’ attention fades at 20 minutes.  But what about students who received diversions?  Their focus lasted longer.  As Professor Alejandro Lleras, who conducted the research, puts it,

It’s important to create an environment where it’s OK to take small breaks.”

This might be good news—since this teacher finds that students are more distracted than ever.  As one fellow instructor recently told me, “ALL kids have A.D.D. these days.”  Seems like it sometimes.  Yet maybe with frequent pauses, we can all get more done than when we duct-tape ourselves to our desk.

  • Get off your butt?

Instead of cruising from one screen stimulus to another, though, why not get off your butt?  Why not go for a short walk?  Why not water the plants, file the pile, eat a fun lunch, or shovel some snow?

Which reminds me…There’s still white stuff to push around here.  And this screen is draining my energy.

Time for a break!  YEE-ha!

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2 Responses to “Break Away from Work—Briefly!”

  1. tessymits Says:

    As a middle school teacher, I can agree. I currently teach 6 – 45 minute classes a day, but in the past, I taught 3 – 90 minute classes. We always took a break, midway between the block. Bathrooms, water, walk around a bit and do a little bit of stretching. I needed it as much as the kids. Now, all I need is my bottle of Hawaiian Tropic on my desk and an occasional sniff to transport me to some tropical destination. Ahhhhhh…summer. Only 99 days away!

  2. kirk Says:

    Ah tessymits…Even your mention of a Hawaiian Tropic sniff makes me high. When I recently snuck away to Mexico, that aroma + sea air made winter disappear. You taught 90-minute class periods in middle school? THAT sounds…about 45 minutes too long. Breaks are in order! Some say students lost their attention span when MTV came along, and then shredded what was left when the digital revolution arrived. The revolution I’m hoping for is the Break Revolution. Maybe we can learn to focus again. Thanks for teaching your children well…

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