FE: Boost your focus

02 Sep FE: Boost your focus

Sometimes making time for a microbreak can lead to a breakthrough.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Enhance the way you work by incorporating a few strategic microbreaks into your day.
So, what’s a microbreak?
Microbreaks help to “reboot” your brain, it’s helpful to take small breaks of 90 seconds to two minutes every 20 to 40 minutes. One study showed that surgeons who used microbreaks to stretch performed better in surgery and suffered less joint pain. Another study found that microbreaks boosted the focus of assembly line workers.
What should you do during a microbreak?
Still, before you decide to check your Instagram or text your BFF every 20 minutes, it’s important to note that not all microbreaks are created equal. The Harvard Business Review article titled “Boost Your Productivity with Microbreaks” quotes assistant professor Charlotte Fritz, whose research shows that taking work-related microbreaks keeps people more energized than breaks that aren’t associated with professional activities.
In other words, distracting your mind completely from the task at hand isn’t helpful. What you need to do is find a way to take a break without disengaging from work. You could stretch for 3 minutes while mulling over a challenge you’re working on. Or you could pause one task — such as drafting a report — to look at the rest of your day.
The main thing is to stop focusing intently on your task and give your eyes and brain some relief without completely redirecting your attention. Then, when you return to the task at hand, your brain should be re-energized, and you should feel more productive.
Yes, you still need longer breaks, too — and during those breaks, it’s best if you can disengage from work for a while. For example, you can do a 10-minute coffee run halfway through the morning or go for a brisk 30-minute walk during your lunch break.
Set reminders
If you’re someone who tends to lose track of time when you’re working, it can be helpful to set reminders on your computer or phone. There are also apps available to help you remember, such as Micro Breaks, a Chrome extension you can easily install in your browser.
Leveraging microbreaks can help you improve your focus, so try it — and you’ll soon see how they can help boost your productivity.

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Akasha Lin
Akasha Garnier for #TheWishwall
Author, Brand Expert, Filmmaker
Photo: AkashaLin Garnier
Studies from BBC and Harvard Business Review
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