Knowing When To Take A Break

Staying on task and productivity is never-ending within our jobs.  Day in and day out, we must work towards our production goals and meet deadlines.  It requires constant efforts to keep our minds operating at a high level.  Sometimes we plan to go to bed early or eat a good balanced breakfast to jump-start our focus in the morning.  But how do we keep our mental focus throughout the day?  Unlike machines, our brains require constant mental breaks to keep our focus at an ideal level.

Pomodoro Breaks

An effective method that works incredibly well is the Pomodoro Technique.  Francesco Cirillo developed the Pomodoro Technique in the late 1980s.  This technique is very simple and only requires you to have a timer.  One “Pomodoro” is characterized by 25 minutes of uninterrupted work.  A suggestion for ensuring your work is uninterrupted is turning off your phone and putting your computer into airplane mode (if you can) during the 25 minutes.  The key for the Pomodoro technique to work is there must be an intensive focus for the duration that the timer is on.  After the 25 minutes is up, stop wherever you are and walk away.  Set another timer for 5 minutes, and once that timer goes off its back where you left off.  This is repeated until a set is completed, which is 4 Pomodoro’s.  After completing a set, a longer break is then taken at 15-30 minutes.

Here is an example:

  • Pomodoro 1 for 25 minutes, then Break 1 for 5 minutes
  • Pomodoro 2 for 25 minutes, then Break 2 for 5 minutes
  • Pomodoro 3 for 25 minutes, then Break 3 for 5 minutes
  • Pomodoro 4 for 25 minutes, then SET 1 Complete
  • Break  for 15 to 30 minutes
  • REPEAT

The beauty of the Pomodoro Technique is that if done correctly, you are getting more work done by the end of the day even though you are taking more breaks.  Sounds kind of counter-intuitive right?  The genius is in understanding that the brain can’t maintain maximum concentration for longer than half an hour without at least a couple minutes to recuperate.

Being Strategic

While using the Pomodoro Technique is a fantastic way to get done with tasks in the short term, sometimes a different system is necessary to get yourself back into peak performance.

The Strategic Coach Entrepreneurial Time System is an effective way to manage your time at work while also giving you the mental break that you need.  This system is designed to make scheduled days in which you have Free Days, Focus Days, and Buffer Days.   You can re-organize your time to effectively produce results – which is what every entrepreneur needs!  It’s mapped out quarterly.  Here is a short breakdown:

Free Days & Rejuvenation:  Look at the total number of free days in a quarter and establish when your free days are going to be on your calendar.  Think of ways that you can increase your level of revitalization physically and mentally.

Focus Days & Productivity:  After you have scheduled your Free Days, look at the number of days needed to focus.   Think of ways to increase your overall productivity (i.e., financial results, effective communication, creative brainstorming, etc.).

Buffer Days & Preparation:  Once you have your Free and Focus Days scheduled, you will then consider Buffer Days.  This area is to increase the preparation needed for your Free and Focus Days.

For full details of the Strategic Coach Entrepreneurial Time System, click on the hyperlink.  Strategic Coach also has great content articles designed for entrepreneurs to continually grow.

Find What Works

To combat work fatigue, consider using a method that is right for you.  Create a plan in your schedule to take mental health breaks.  In the long run, taking breaks will help you to stay focused and increase your productivity.

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