When it comes to science and the human body, best practices are often counterintuitive; trimming your hair can help it grow, napping can make you more tired, and—according to Daniel H. Pink’s new book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing—taking a break (or several of them) can actually make you more productive.
“I started thinking about breaks as part of my performance, not as a deviation from my performance, and you should too.” —Daniel H. Pink, author of When
When your calendar looks like a Tetris game of appointments, meetings, and deadlines, taking a break probably seems like the worst use of your time—but it’s super important, author Pink told GQ. “I started thinking about breaks as part of my performance, not as a deviation from my performance, and you should too,” he said. “Take it from this mountain of research showing that we’re more productive, more replenished, more creative, and happier, and we do better on our job if we take more breaks.”
But, it’s important that your breaks are of a specific variety: Spending five minutes answering text messages or scrolling through your Instagram feed is not the type of rejuvenation Pink recommends. Rather, he says, “fully detached beats semidetached; a break has to be a break.”
So, step away from your phone and computer completely, even if just for a couple of minutes. Pink also suggests standing up and seeing some nature, if you can—whether it’s a quick forest- or park-bathing session or a bonding moment with your desk plant.
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