By Megan Miranda
I know what you’re thinking, entrepreneurs don’t have time for breaks! These days, people equate taking a 15 minute break to being lazy. While you may cringe and the idea and think it is counter-intuitive, taking regular breaks from your work can actually make you more productive.
Think of your brain as a muscle — it gets stronger and grows with practice. This means it also gets tired and needs breaks to recover after long periods of exercise.
As a hard-working wedding professional, you have a lot of work to handle on your own — emails to answer, phone calls to return and clients to meet. Don’t let yourself become reactive, spending a whole day responding to questions and requests.
Instead, take a break and give your mind a chance to recharge; you’ll be surprised by how much you can get done!
Optimize Your Calendar
Instead of letting emails interrupt your blogging time or blurring an editing session with social media time, categorize your work and take breaks between tasks.
As a successful wedding pro, you know that responding to emails is important and social media marketing merits your focus. However, it’s okay to set a specific time slot for these tasks, rather than allowing them to overwhelm your day.
After you have organized your calendar and see that you do indeed have space for breaks, it’s time to choose some fun activities for your recess!
Are you a napper or a photo-scroller? You can choose to look at cute pictures of animals or take a 20-40 minute nap — either way, you’re giving your brain a chance to recharge!
Get Out and Get Moving
Being active is important for our bodies, but also helps improve brain function. Taking regular walks can boost the connectivity of important brain circuits and improve cognitive performance.
As few as 20 minutes spent walking will increase blood flow to the brain, which can stimulate the creative thought process.
If you exercise before or after sitting down to work, or it’s the middle of winter and you don’t want to stroll outside, there are other ways to take a break.
Have you ever considered meditation? Meditation lowers blood pressure and slows the release of stress hormones, so you may find bonus benefits to this mindfulness practice.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
If you find yourself daydreaming, you’re probably in need of a break.
Professor Trougakos, an assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Rotman School of Management, suggests taking a break before you reach the absolute bottom of your mental barrel.
However, if you’re on a roll — blogging up a storm or putting together your portfolio — you can keep going as long as you aren’t forcing yourself.
If you find your eyes getting tired, you’re due for a break.
Consider the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from your computer for 20 seconds.
This allows your eyes to blink naturally — when we stare at computer screens, we don’t blink enough.
Don’t Overdo It
Whether it’s five minute breaks every 25 minutes, working in 90 minute blocks or the rule of 52 and 17, find a method that works for you and stick to it.
Too many breaks can encourage procrastination. Remember, too much of anything is usually not good for you!
What’s your favorite way to take a break?
Megan Miranda is a Portland, Oregon-based blogger, writer and business owner. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her baking bread and planning her own wedding.