A one hour lunch with your co-worker. Snagging an early afternoon coffee. An impromptu mid-week vacation day. Your boss should thank you for making time for yourself to take a break.
Scientific studies show that taking breaks actually increases workplace productivity and creativity. But if any of the activities above sound like an impossible dream, you're not alone. A study by the US Travel Association, as reported in Forbes, found that American workers didn't use 662 million earned vacation days in 2016. In fact, the average worker took 16.8 vacations days in 2016, which is down from an average of 18 days between 2005 and 2010, and 20 days per year between 1976 and 2000. With statistics like this, and over 60% of employees expressing that they feel stressed on most workdays, the message is clear: we need to make taking breaks a bigger priority.
We know taking breaks is good for overall productivity and efficiency. And yet many of us don't make the time for them. Some of us feel we can't make the time due to intense workloads. Others simply forget to make the time.
If you struggle to remember take a break from work, here's a tip from author and productivity expert Dave Crenshaw.
Think of breaks as a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have. For so many people, they're as rare as oases in the desert. The solution? Book time in your calendar for them! Schedule breaks exactly like you would schedule meetings or phone calls. Manage your time to make sure you have meaningful breaks to recharge. It's not negotiable!
So, are YOU taking all the breaks you need at work? Share your experience in the comments below!
This post is based on the book The Power of Having Fun: How Meaningful Breaks Help You Get More Done by Dave Crenshaw. As an author, speaker, and online instructor, Dave Crenshaw has helped build tens of thousands of productive leaders worldwide. He develops new courses for LinkedIn Learning, where his videos have received millions of views.