Working or studying for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative.
Switching off opens the mind ……why? Let’s take a look at how our brains work.
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the thinking part of your brain. It is active for goal-oriented work that requires concentration and is also responsible for logical thinking, decision making and will power. This fatigues over time especially during prolonged work.
Studies have shown that intervals of focus and task-goal orientation with short periods of rest, lead to improved focus and concentration. If we don’t take breaks, the stimulus remains constant over a prolonged time and the brain gradually stops registering. This causes a lack of focus and can lead to errors being made or overlooked. This is why we often miss our own spelling errors even after proof-reading a document we have been working on as our brains just don’t differentiate the content after prolonged exposure. We become “habituated” to the stimulus and it no longer registers.
Based on the theory that the brain requires intermittent bouts of rest for improved performance and focus, different techniques were introduced. The Pomodoro Technique was introduced as a simple time management method in 1992.
An example of the Pomodoro Technique:
Benefits of taking a break for mental and physical wellbeing
Author: Kristin McMaster, Director, Health Breaks – encouraging employees to take a break for their health daily