Breaks Improve Creativity
How many times have you been hard at work on a project or task and found yourself unable to concentrate, feel creative, or get things done in a timely manner? You spend all your designated time in the office and then go home only to more tasks, often completely forgetting to take time for yourself. You are not alone! We live in a busy world where ‘task switching’ is the norm for most working people. The activities we do in our personal lives determine how energized we feel. Studies show that people who hold jobs that require lower creativity benefit from engaging in creative acts during their down time. A survey of 1,500 CEOs from 60 different nations and 33 different industries found creativity was the number one attribute for leadership. So what can we do to help us reach our maximum potential and get those creative juices flowing?
Evidence suggests that regularly skipping breaks leads to stress, exhaustion and a general creative block. Stress and exhaustion negatively affect our health. Set aside a few minutes each week and plan activities you want to do during your time off. Call up a friend and plan to go to a movie, visit a park or have a meal together. If you don’t feel like spending time with anyone, enjoy personal time by cracking open a book or lounging around. Have you ever wondered why you feel so amazing following a vacation? Chances are you forgot your responsibilities and enjoyed yourself without worrying about items on a never-ending task list.
Ever noticed that some of your best ideas or figuring out how to solve a problem usually occur when you least expect it? This is because our brains switch into a ‘diffuse mode’ instead of staying in a constant state of ‘focus.’ Step away from your desk, take a walk, stretch, or grab a pen and paper and let the blood flow to your brain increase -- your productivity will follow suit. Study results published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology concluded that people who actively enjoyed their hobbies were better able to find solutions to work problems and performed 15 to 30 percent better on the job.
Bottom Line: Instead of spending hours being unproductive and constantly switching between tasks without progress, set aside some time and revamp the creative parts of your brain. Make time to relax and rest. Engage in hobbies and activities that keep you thinking and on your toes. Participate in friendly office competitions and become more productive!
Written by: Tiffany Tanksley, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
1. Creativity Research Journal
2. Science Direct