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Schedule Your Breaks To Get The Most Out Of ThemWork Smart

Schedule Your Breaks To Get The Most Out Of Them

Everyone agrees that taking regular breaks is essential for achieving peak productivity. However, recent research shows that you can improve your creativity and problem-solving skills, depending on how you take breaks.

No matter when you take your breaks, you should be scheduling them, says a recent study titled 'Switching on creativity: Task switching can increase creativity by reducing cognitive fixation'. Published in the journal Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes , the study found that downtime is more refreshing and more effective at helping people get back to the top of their game when it's planned in advance.

Other studies have also found that brief breaks during idea generation can increase the variety of ideas generated. Researchers from Columbia University says that "when you're working on tasks that would benefit from creative thinking, you should consciously insert breaks to refresh your approach". They further explain to set them at regular intervals — use a timer if you have to. "When it goes off, switch tasks: Organize your reimbursement receipts, check your email, or clean your desk, and then return to the original task. If you're hesitant to break away because you feel that you're on a roll, be mindful that it might be a false impression", says the team of Jackson G. Lu, Modupe Akinola, and Malia Mason from Columbia Business School.

Taking schedules breaks doesn't necessarily means putting them on your calendar. But what it means is giving you break a set time limit. Additionally, you should take regular breaks as well, since we tend to generate redundant ideas when we don't take regular breaks as per Columbia research.

One effective way to add this to your daily routine is to use the Pomodoro technique, in which you work for 25 minutes (one Pomodoro) and take 5 minutes break afterward. One the completion of every 4 Pomodoro, you have to take a 30 minutes break as well. Additionally, never skip your lunch breaks, and don't feel guilty about taking breaks, especially when you are feeling stuck. Doing so may actually be the best use of your time, says the scholars from Colombia University.

(Image Credit: Pexels)

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