Research has emerged recently on how we can be more productive—from making to-do lists to to maximizing the morning hours. One new study offers another hot productivity tip: Take 17-minute breaks.
Draugiem Group, a social media company, recently used its own productivity app DeskTime to monitor the habits of its most productive employees. Surprisingly, they found that the 10 percent of employees with the highest productivity actually didn’t work the most. In fact, they worked an average 52 minutes and then took 17-minute breaks.
“Turns out, the secret to retaining the highest level of productivity over the span of a workday is not working longer—but working smarter with frequent breaks,” Julia Gifford, a content marketing specialist for Draugiem wrote on The Muse. “The reason the most productive 10 [percent] of our users are able to get the most done during the comparatively short periods of working time is that their working times are treated as sprints. They make the most of those 52 minutes by working with intense purpose, but then rest up to be ready for the next burst.”
The reason these extended breaks work, Gifford writes, is that we need lengthy mental breaks regularly in order to feed our concentration for long periods. People who commit to sitting at their desks “working” for hours on end ultimately get distracted and take a lot more little breaks to check email or Facebook—which ultimately hurts their productivity.
Another interesting finding from Draugiem’s study is that the most productive employees got up from their desks and moved around during their breaks. They were socializing with co-workers or just getting a little exercise—not pretending to work.
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