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Breaks: take them or lose them (it)

Tiffany Mosig - Tuesday, April 02, 2019

I keep trying to beat my fastest time for online Sudoku. But the faster I play, the more my thoughts go from getting the next move right to making this my fastest time ever. Then I hit a wall. Progress stalls. I panic. No matter how frantically I search I can’t see a viable move.


When the inevitable interruption comes and my quest is over, I go back to the game with no agenda except finishing it; and there, right in front of me, is the move I tortured myself to find. How could I have missed that?


Distraction is funny that way. Sometimes it slows progress. And other times, it ensures it. I was so focused on beating my time, that I couldn’t see the logical next move. And there’s always a next move. It took looking away to finally see it.


You never know where an a-ha moment is going to come from. Distraction and inspiration are all around us. We just miss them because we aren’t looking up often enough.



Productivity is measured in results and guided by deadlines designed to keep the project on target. But what happens to our performance when we get numb and lose our sharpness and creativity. There’s plenty of scientific evidence now that proves we are more engaged, more efficient, and make fewer mistakes when we take regular short breaks to walk, talk, surf, read, write, daydream


So, to my friends and others…


  • who work through lunch every day: Take a break. Refresh yourself.
  • who take work home every night and weekend: Do something that makes you forget work for a while. Recharge your battery.
  • who have unused vacation time at the end of the year: Use it. You earned it.


And don’t feel guilty. Breaks fight boredom, give us new perspective, and help keep us focused on the job at hand. Who doesn’t want focused employees?


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