April 30, 2015
Take a Break. Read This. You’ve Earned It.
By Lance Lemen
What brings you to this blog post? You’re probably either a really big fan of my work or you find yourself trying to escape a monotonous activity or a mental funk. I’m assuming most of you are here for option #2. You probably think you’re procrastinating from your responsibilities, but in reality you’re probably taking a much-needed break.
An article in The New York Times, To Stay on Schedule, Take a Break, discusses the importance of taking breaks. Here’s a quick sentence explaining their value, “A growing body of evidence shows that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity — and that skipping breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion.”
It is explained that mental concentration is similar to a muscle – your brain becomes fatigued and needs time to rest and recover. I probably don’t have to tell you this, but the idea of improving productivity and creativity in our industry is huge. As a strategic branding & advertising agency, we have to find that right mix of left and right brain on a daily basis.
First of all, I should explain that, yes, we do work (at least) eight hours a day like the rest of you. Maybe twenty minutes of that day is spent setting up a desk war scene with toy Army soldiers or doodling on the dry erase boards, but it’s what we need to continue delivering great identity creation and design. Not only do these silly activities provide us that necessary mental break, but it also helps spark and keep our creative juices flowing.
The article does warn that breaks can be taken too far and quickly turn into procrastination, but you’re probably smart enough to figure out how that happens. (I’m looking at you, Facebook and BuzzFeed!) Also, the article comments on how naps can improve productivity, but I’ll let you work that one out with your boss.
Personally, for my mental breaks I like to get away from my desk. If I go out for a walk it allows me to mentally and physically get away from work – and it helps me increase my daily Fitbit steps! As a group, our office likes to hit around beach balls and eat Flying Cow frozen yogurt; it’s mental break collaboration!
If you can’t get away from your desk for 15 minutes, maybe try scheduling some time on your calendar for a mental break. It’s incredible what walking away from your work, figuratively or literally, can do for your productivity.
Give it a shot today! What are some of your favorite 15-minute break activities?