Thomas Ramey Watson

You’ve Been Taking Breaks All Wrong

Next time you’re plowing through a days-long pile of work, barely looking up from your computer, consider this: Breaks are scientifically-proven to boost focus and productivity.

A 2008 University of Illinois study found that the brain’s attentional resources drop after a long period of focusing on a single task, decreasing our focus and hindering performance. But even brief diversions, the study found, could significantly increase one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods of time.

“Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable,” Energy Project CEO Tony Schwartz wrote in the New York Times. “Taking more time off is counterintuitive for most of us. The idea is also at odds with the prevailing work ethic in most companies, where downtime is typically viewed as time wasted.”

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