It's 3:00 p.m. Your head is starting to feel a little foggy and you can't seem to focus. Did you take any breaks other than your lunch break today—if that? If the answer is no, then that's probably the reason why you're feeling so lousy. How are you supposed to get any work done if you're not feeling 100 percent? We asked a few young women in the workforce why it's important to take breaks throughout the work day, and their answers are eye-opening.
1. It gives you a chance to be more creative
If you're working on a project and you hit a road block, get up and take a break—it can help you get your creativity flowing.
"I think one of the best reasons to take breaks while working is becuase, when you do, you come back feeling refreshed and rejuvenated," says Margeaux Biché, a sophomore at Barnard College. "For me, new creative ideas come from this place. Additionally, because I've taken some time to not think about whatever it is I was previously working on, I find that I'm consistently more efficient when I start working again!"
By giving yourself a much needed break, you'll be able to clear your mind and open yourself up to new ideas that you might not have been able to think about while you were focused on your project.
"Taking a break gives your mind time to think of new ideas that you may have not considered, especially if you take the time to get away from the area you were physically working in, like taking a walk or spending time outside," says Alaina Leary, a graduate student at Emerson College.
2. Your body and mind will feel more refreshed
It's not good to sit at your desk all day. The more time you sit, the more negative effects it has on your body. You start to slump, your neck can start to feel stiff, and your eyes will begin to feel strained.
"I take breaks to move my legs and to get my blood flowing," says Mara Hyman, a 2014 University of Southern California graduate who is on the marketing team at CBS Boston. "I don't like sitting at my computer all day because it can affect your posture as well."
Sydnee Lyons, a first year grad student at Florida Atlantic University, brings up another great point—risk of a urinary track infection.
"Sometimes at work, I would be so busy or distracted (and the bathroom would be so very far!) that I'd just hold it," Lyons explains. "I drink a lot of water and pride myself on being really hydrated all the time, so I read [an article about it] and it made me feel like other millenials do the same thing!"
3. Your work day will go quicker
Have you ever sat at your desk for what feels like an hour, only to look at your clock and realize that a mere ten minutes has passed? We've been there. Checking the clock constantly can make the day drag on forever, and taking breaks throughout the day will definitely help it pass a little quicker. If you have trouble remembering to give yourself a breather, try setting an alarm on your phone every couple of hours to remind you to get up and stretch your legs.
4. You'll be more productive
There's no better feeling than checking off your whole to-do list and leaving work with a somewhat empty plate. If you sit at your desk all day and refrain from taking breaks, you might not be as productive as you could be. By giving yourself time to refresh, like taking a walk to a co-worker's area or sitting outside, you're giving yourself a chance to re-group and get a better focus for the task at hand.
"I take breaks to re-energize myself," says Leary. "I think breaks are especially important if you're working on a long, in-depth project that requires a lot of focus. Longer projects may take hours and it can be easy to want to just power through them, but you can also get stuck in a rut if you don't take breaks."
Sophia Walker, a junior at Bowdoin College, believes that not taking breaks during the workday can make you feel tired and worn out.
"Without breaks, I can't concentrate and without concentration, I can't produce any quality work," Walker explains. "Additionally, if I don't schedule in breaks and off-time, I will spend all my time working, which isn't good for productivity or general health and happiness."
5. You'll avoid burnout
Just like having a positive work-life balance is important, it's important to have a balance throughout the work day, too. If you try to work your 9 to 5 straight through, chances are you aren't going to have a sharp focus. Not having a sharp focus will lead to distraction and procrastination, and you'll only feel as though you need to work harder and longer to complete your project. If you give yourself a chance to refresh, you'll avoid feeling run down and stressed out. You'll even be more productive during the day, so that you don't feel like you have to bring your work home with you to finish up.
6. You can meet more people
How many of your co-workers can you meet if you sit at your desk the whole day? Not many! Aside from your immediate area and the people in your department, you probably aren't giving yourself a chance to get to know everyone in your building or on your floor.
"During my work breaks, instead of hiding away in a break room with my phone, I try to see what other coworkers are doing, and if there's something we can do together," says Leary. "Go for a short walk to get lunch down the street or step out into the sun. These are all times you can get closer to your colleagues and get to know them better."
It's hard to be laser-focused at work all the time, but it's even harder to focus when you don't take a break from what you're doing. Take a walk down the hall, do a loop around the parking lot, or sit in a common area to clear your head. You'll be happy you did!