The early bird gets the worm, the night owl gets to prowl, and the busy bird gets the biscuit. There are plenty of ways that the concept of overworking is reinforced and even encouraged in the workplace. The 40-hour workweek that is common in the United States is actually one of the longest workweeks in the world, and as any hard-working executive knows, the work doesn’t stop at the 5 o’clock bell. The expectation is that one takes home paperwork to finish up, that the mind is always spinning with ideas, and that phone calls make you accessible around the clock.

This concept of working non-stop is not sustainable. It leads to burnout for the individual and lack of productivity for the company. Taking breaks is actually incredibly important but is often looked at as a waste of time.

A short break at work is necessary to help you refuel your mind and spirit. When a problem is frustrating you, walking away from it for 10 minutes is shown to significantly improve problem-solving ability.

Here are a few benefits of taking breaks:

Breaks increase productivity: When breaks are not scheduled naturally into the day, productivity wanes. The 8-hour workday becomes one long session, and therefore the tasks accomplished blend together, and if something isn’t going to be done now, then it might not be considered until the next day. Having a scheduled break creates natural guidelines and essentially deadlines in the day.

Breaks reduce employee stress: A scheduled break is a chance for employees to catch their breath and clear their mind. It provides an opportunity to walk around, get something to eat, and approach problems with a fresh mind. Using breaks to reduce employee stress is also a great way to improve employee health, which thereby further improves productivity.

Breaks are an opportunity to practice self-care as you climb the corporate ladder, and if you aren’t taking care of yourself, then you won’t be able to keep up with your dreams.

Scheduling breaks ahead of time makes it possible for you to schedule appointments around your break times and to plan accordingly. Try keeping a planner, or scheduling your inbox to snooze for 20 minutes at a certain time of the day. Taking a 10- or 20-minute break will help improve your focus and productivity, and can thereby make you a better employee.

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