Brought to you by Solitaire Bliss:
The bulk of our workday is spent at our workstations, looking at a computer. As you might expect, it’s bad for our necks, eyes, and just about everything else. However, for some reason, the majority of us are guilty of not taking enough (or any) breaks at work, which is bad.
Breaks, even five-minute ones, are one of the most beneficial things you can do during your workday, regardless of your profession. With that in mind, below are four mind-stimulating breaks you can take to increase productivity.
1. Play Some Brain Games
Many people try to compartmentalize their work and regard it as separate from their personal lives. Work is where you do your “job” and home is where you engage in all other activities – leisure and family.
Gaming in the office bridges this divide; because gaming is linked with leisure and the “home” side of one’s life, introducing gaming into the workplace makes work more enjoyable.
Games are a great way to increase employee happiness. They can help workers perceive work as a “positive” aspect of their life rather than a “bad” one, allowing them to equate work with relaxation and joy. There are even games you can play on your own. Sites like solitairebliss.com give you free access to the classic solitaire, which is played as much today as it ever was because of how enjoyable it is.
It is well known that meditation is one of the best and fastest ways to calm the mind and re-center a person. The problem most people have with meditation is that it can be hard to start, and sitting still for prolonged periods of time can be difficult too, especially if you have a lot on your mind.
Our breath is inextricably linked to our mood – we’ve all noticed that when we’re furious, our breath takes on a certain quality and pace. When we’re sad, our breath takes on a different pattern and duration, and when we’re joyful, our breath takes on a different rhythm.
Our emotions and mental state are inextricably linked to our breathing. We may easily quiet the mind and nervous system when we employ the breath skillfully for a few minutes, using ancient yogic practices that have stood the test of thousands of years of human use.
The use of these strategies on a daily basis brings your mind closer to the present moment and teaches it to stay there. If you’re working from home and have a quiet place to retreat to, meditation is undoubtedly one of the best ways to return to productivity after several hours of work.
3. Talk to a Friend
Workplace friendships are among the most important considerations for employees when evaluating their job satisfaction. It affects how likely a person is to remain with their current employer and can be a powerful motivator to get up and get to work every day.
Workplace friendships can also be great productivity boosters. Human beings, by and large, are social animals and require and need social stimulation in order to function properly.
When we spend time interacting with people we enjoy being around and talking to and, even better, people who stimulate us in conversation, it activates our minds. Even a short conversation with a work buddy that lets us “stretch” our minds can be enough to put us back on track when we eventually return to our desks and get back to business.
It’s unusual these days to find yourself with ‘nothing to do’ on a break from work. With a few swipes, we can avoid even the tiniest moments of boredom. However, avoiding ‘nothing to do’ leisure on occasion may have unforeseen consequences.
When you’re constantly searching for that digital stimulation, it leaves little time for meditation, deep thought, or even just sitting back and allowing our spontaneous ideas to take us somewhere we wouldn’t have gone if we were involved in focused thinking.
The default mode network of the brain takes control when we let our brains wander without focusing on a specific purpose. Daydreaming and doodling activate the default mode network, which may allow some prefrontal cortical activities to take a break. The reason for most drops in productivity is burnout, which can be avoided if you spend some of your downtime decluttering your mind and allowing creativity to take over.
A mind that doesn’t stop and continues to load on more and more ideas and anxieties is dooming itself. Allowing yourself to fully utilize your breaks, leave your desk, recharge, have fun, and rest your mind will have a significant positive impact on both stress and productivity. Breaks are the most effective approach to avoid work burnout.