This Explains How Short Breaks Make You Productive

We’ve all been there – staring at a computer screen for hours on end, fueled by countless cups of coffee in a desperate attempt to stay productive. But the truth is, this relentless pursuit of busyness often backfires. Our brains, like any other muscle, need regular breaks to function at their best.

Myth: Busyness Equals Productivity

The prevailing notion that long hours translate to high productivity is a myth. Studies have shown that decision fatigue, a state where our ability to make sound choices diminishes, sets in after extended periods of focused work. This can lead to decreased cognitive function, poor decision-making, and ultimately, a decline in productivity. Imagine a car constantly running without ever being refueled or serviced. Just like the car, our brains need regular breaks to replenish their resources and perform at their peak.

How Short Resets Recharge Your Mind

So, how exactly do short breaks benefit us? Here’s how stepping away for a brief moment can significantly boost your productivity:

  • Improved Focus and Attention: Constant focus can drain your mental reserves. Short breaks act like a mini-reset, allowing your mind to refresh and return to your work with renewed concentration.
  • Enhanced Creativity: Sometimes, the best solutions come when we least expect them. Stepping away from your task allows your mind to wander freely, fostering new connections and sparking creative ideas.
  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Feeling overwhelmed? Taking a break can help manage stress and prevent burnout. Even a few minutes away from your work can significantly reduce cortisol levels, the body’s stress hormone.
  • Increased Energy Levels: Sitting for extended periods can lead to fatigue and decreased energy. Short bursts of physical activity during breaks, like walking or light stretches, can improve circulation and boost energy levels. This can be especially helpful for those who suffer from physical discomforts associated with a sedentary lifestyle, like lower back pain. During my visits to Hanover, where my parents reside, I make it a point to accompany them to their monthly health check up. It is during these visits that I’ve met several amazing spine surgeons based in Hanover. They consistently emphasize the critical importance of regular movement and maintaining proper posture to mitigate the risk of spinal issues, including conditions like lumbar TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion), and to potentially avoid the need for surgical interventions.
  • Boosted Memory and Learning: Believe it or not, breaks can actually enhance your ability to learn and retain information. Taking a short break allows your brain to consolidate new information into your memory, making it easier to recall later.

Tips for Effective Resets

Now that you understand the power of short breaks, here are some tips to ensure they are truly effective:

  • Step Away from the Screen: Give your eyes a break! Look away from screens during breaks to minimize eye strain and digital fatigue. Take a walk around the office, gaze out the window, or simply close your eyes for a few minutes.
  • Get Moving: Incorporate short bursts of physical activity into your breaks. A brisk walk, some light stretches, or a quick round of jumping jacks can increase blood flow and boost energy levels. Remember, even small doses of movement can significantly improve your well-being and prevent long-term health issues.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Short mindfulness techniques like deep breathing or meditation can significantly reduce stress and improve focus during breaks. Even a few minutes of mindful breathing can leave you feeling calmer and more centered.
  • Disconnect to Reconnect: Use your breaks to truly disconnect from work. Engage in social interaction with colleagues, pursue a hobby, or simply relax your mind with some light reading. This allows you to return to your work feeling refreshed and refocused, ready to tackle any challenge.


Short breaks are not a sign of laziness; they are an essential ingredient for peak productivity. By incorporating these brief moments of rejuvenation into your workday, you’ll be surprised at how much more focused, creative, and energized you feel. So, the next time you feel the urge to push through, remember – a short break can be the key to unlocking your full potential.