Work-oriented, highly motivated, and driven people often forget to do one thing – the importance of stopping!
Now, I’m not talking about “stopping and smelling the roses” or any of that hippie nonsense (sry to all the hippies out there). I am talking about legitimate reasons for pausing your work (for a short period of time, of course, I don’t want you to get fired).
The kind of things I’ll talk about will actually make you more productive and focused. A brief moment of respite will benefit you not just only in the long run but in the short run, as well.
Most of the recommendations I’ll give could be considered “common sense”, but you’ll be surprised how many people choose to ignore them when they are focused on their work (we’ve all been there, I’m not judging anybody).
If you are chasing a promotion, or that sweet, sweet bonus, or even if you are just “the new kid on the block” (new person in the office, I can’t believe I had to explain that), here are a couple of things that you should most definitely do!
Why Should You Stop To ______?
Taking a break at just the right time can help keep your energy levels and productivity up. In sports, rest periods are extremely important so why shouldn’t they matter if you work in an office?
The answer is simple, they do matter!
1. Drink Water!
Do I really need to remind people to drink water? What am I, some sort of water reminder? Why should you drink water at all? Well…
Your brain is mostly water (around 75%), so, by drinking water, you’ll be able to think and focus better . It will increase your energy levels and will help relieve fatigue.
A study done on mice showed that drinking water increases dopamine levels . So, drinking water will make you feel better (thanks to the dopamine). And, if you are not a sadomasochist, when you feel better you will perform better (simple as that!).
Water helps with digestion (not really a work thing), but will basically lower your chances of getting constipated. It also hydrates your skin, meaning you will literally look better if you drink water (and who doesn’t want to look good?).
It also helps regulate your body temperature, which will in turn make you sweat less (and nobody likes a colleague that is constantly sweating). Drink water, sweat less, and be more liked in the office!
Water normalizes your blood pressure, which can be severely affected by sitting too much. And last but not least, it will stop you from getting dehydrated (which is a good thing!).
2. Air-Out the Room for productivity and focus
This section of the article is all about oxygen (it’s like, really important. The oxygen… The article, less soo). Why should you air out your work or home office?
Airing out or venting the room will help get rid of the “stale air”. Stale air has been “used” and contains less oxygen, which in turn means less oxygen for your body (and we don’t want that).
Your brain needs a lot of oxygen. Around 20% of our oxygen intake is directly used by our brain. Why?
The human brain (especially when you are using it) needs a lot of energy (roughly 1.5 calories a minute). To create that sort of energy, the cells in your brain need, (you’ve guessed it), oxygen!
Remember Covid-19? Another important reason to regularly ventilate your workspace. Getting some fresh air in will reduce your chances of contracting any sort of air-borne disease (not just the C-word one).
Oxygen also strengthens your immune system and will help you fight off any viruses and/or bacteria that enter your body.
Oxygen plays a major part in our digestive system. It helps your body process food and turns it into energy. So, more oxygen means you will have more energy to expend on your work-related tasks, you’ll be more productive, and will be able to focus much better.
In conclusion, you should regularly air out your workspace! There are literally no drawbacks, so please, just do it!
3. Refocus Your Eyes
Our eyes are not made for up-close and personal viewing (like sitting in front of a screen for hours). No matter who you want to blame or thank for that (God, Gods, or evolution) those are the facts!
Computer Vision Syndrome is probably one of the most common ailments that affects the modern working person. Symptoms include eye strain, blurred vision, headaches, and dry or irritated eyes. What’s the easiest way to combat this? Simple, it’s called the 20-20-20 rule and can save you a lifetime’s worth of problems. How does it work?
Every 20 minutes you should look at an object 20 feet (or 6 meters) away for 20 seconds. This will help refocus and rest your eyes  This will help refocus and rest your eyes. The object you’re looking at doesn’t have to be exactly 20 feet away. Unless you want to carry a measuring tape with you, just look at something that’s at a reasonable distance, or look through a window (that will be the easiest).
Keeping track of time (in this case every 20 minutes) could prove to be a challenge for a lot of people. Try to set a reminder (i.e. use an app)!
4. Take a Walk During a Lunch Break
Even if it’s a short (5-10 minutes) walk to the cafeteria, it will benefit you greatly. Not only will it make you feel better, but it will also reduce your risk of heart disease, strokes, and clogging of the arteries.
A short walk can also be beneficial to your concentration and focus, allowing you to be more productive afterward.
Taking a walk will get your blood pumping, and, if you take it after lunch it will help with digestion. A study from 2016, showed that a 10-minute walk after a meal can significantly lower your blood sugar, making it a go-to exercise after you’ve had lunch .
Encourage your co-workers to do the same and make it a fun team-building exercise!
The Bottom Line
Taking a break once in a while is extremely important. It will not only help you with your general health but will also increase your productivity, focus, and ability to perform your job at a higher level.
At first, it will be difficult, but most things usually are. As someone once said: “The only thing that’s easy is peeing in the shower”. It takes a while to form a habit, but once you do it, I promise you, you won’t regret it. Now, stop reading this article, get back to work, and don’t forget – drinking water and taking a break will bring back the productivity and focus, if things get rough, take a walk!