Take a break. So simple but often so hard to do.
Here are a couple of suggestions.
When I was a kid in the UK in the 80´s, there was a fun advert from KitKat. Its message is simple Take a break, have a KitKat. (worth watching as it is also a critique of the music industry at the time)
Taking a break…… why do we find it even more difficult in the virtual world? (Let’s face it, it was already challenge when we were all crammed into offices, in the “old days”)
As with anything new, this virtual world requires us to change and adapt. There are no organised coffee breaks on a Zoom meeting; those casual chats as you make a cuppa have gone, there is no water cooler to hang around whilst you catch up on gossip.
It really is time to plan your breaks as part of your working day.
Concentration or focus, call it what you like, is finite. Yes, everyone is different. However, there is a reason that a Ted Talk is never longer than 18 mins; their research indicated that, even when fascinated, listeners concentration lags after that length of time. Hence, a break & the presenter comes back on to the TED stage to re-engage you.
Why take a break
An article Psychology Today suggests 5 main benefits to taking a break.
- Movement breaks” are essential for your physical and emotional health.
- To help prevent “decision fatigue.”
- To restore motivation, especially for long-term goals
- To increase productivity and creativity.
- “Waking rest” helps consolidate memories and improve learning.
So, that’s the why, what’s the when?
Most importantly is to know when not to take a break:
I would suggest when you are in the zone, be it creatively or in a process near completion where you may lose your thread.
When what you are doing is so engaging that you don’t want to stop.
To break then is just as disruptive as a phone call or a pointless conversation. This is when you make it clear that you want to be “I want to be alone”
Come on, we all know when we need a “mini recharge”
Just be brave; get up, leave your screen to its own devices, switch your brain off and move around, walk to a quiet space, grab a coffee, call your partner, open a window and breath-in some fresh air. Whatever rings your bell.
Have a look at this idea: Jim Marggraft in his Ted Talk, presents a simple solution of how an aerobic break is fun, reengages to improve a meetings flow and reduces meeting stress. Great for virtual as well as presential meetings!
For over 28 years, we at Team Dynamics have been asked to energise meeting breaks, as part of our meeting support and team training activities. We call them Icebreakers. What is interesting is that we have continued to do the the same in the virtual world too. Simply, with the aim of keeping virtual teams engaged and motivated. Here is a couple of examples:
When multinational launched their new sales training process, in April, for 120 pax, we were asked to create a mini break in their day for 15 mins over 10 working days. The feedback was really positive.
The results were even better, in July, when one the world’s leading Tec companies asked us to help them engage a team of 30 pax, based in 6 countries, on their monthly “Let’s take a break, together” activity. We were given 10 out of 10…. from a Tec Company for our tec and the activity’s impact. Wow!
Want to know how we can help your organisation make their meeting breaks engaging? Click this link
Now I am going to take a break: Happy holidays to you all!