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Regular Breaks

Regular Breaks

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Description

Regular breaks are small breaks taken during the day to regain focus, stretch the body, and regain energy. They are especially useful for people who have routine and/or repetitive tasks.

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Possible Benefits

  • May improve productivity 
  • May boost performance 
  • May improve focus 
  • May prevent posture problems 
  • May restore energy level
  • May increase motivation
  • May decrease stress level
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How to Do It

Take several breaks during the day to pause your daily activities. You can take 10-15 minute short breaks in addition to longer breaks like lunch. 

Make sure you do something you enjoy during the break, or just take the opportunity to stretch and move your body.

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Why it works

  • Doing any task for an extended period of time increases the level of fatigue, thus decreasing performance. 
  • The ability to focus on something in a sustained manner lasts about 45 minutes. By taking a short break, attention is restored.
  • Time-chunking is a strategy used to prioritize task completion and increase productivity. It has been proven to improve performance and optimize cognitive resources. 
  • Our body stores stress when subjected to the same posture for long periods of time. This increases the feeling of fatigue and can be harmful to health.
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Time Commitment

Short break 10-15 minutes

Long break up to 1 hour

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Suggested Frequency

Daily

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Time of Day

Any 

Lunch break

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Possible Side Effects

In some people, it can lead to procrastination.

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Tips

  • Schedule your breaks at the beginning of the day, make them part of your routine. 
  • Leave a "flexible break" for any time of day.
  • Set reminders on your phone.
  • Plan short activities you enjoy for your breaks. 
  • Socialize with your co-workers or family.
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Supporting Studies and Articles

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  1. Time-Chunking and Hyper-Refocusing in a Digitally-Enabled Workplace: Six Forms of Knowledge Workers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5076381/
  2. Comparison of rest‐break interventions during a mentally demanding task. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6585675/
  3. Effects of software programs stimulating regular breaks and exercises on work-related neck and upper-limb disorders. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12718496/
  4. Boost your brain, while having a break! The effects of long-term cognitively engaging physical activity breaks on children’s executive functions and academic achievement. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6402646/
  5. Physical activity and relaxation during and after work are independently associated with the need for recovery. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24509946/
  6. Micro‐break activities at work to recover from daily work demands. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/job.2109
  7. Psychological aspects of workload. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1998-06505-001
  8. Recovery during Lunch Breaks: Testing Long-Term Relations with Energy Levels at Work. https://www.sjwop.com/articles/10.16993/sjwop.13/
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Category

 Mood  Stress  Health  Energy  Productivity  Focus  Motivation
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