What makes successful people so creative and productive? Does the secret lie in their morning routine, their to-do list, or a special productivity method? While these things can certainly help with your productivity, there is no one size fits all solution.
There is only one activity or habit that makes us all more productive, according to research. And it will probably surprise you.
From research at MIT and Columbia Business School shows that in fact that taking breaks.
Taking breaks for your productivity
No one can be productive for a full working day. And yet, we don’t feel productive if we stare out the window or walk around the block for too long, sometimes even a little guilty. Through research, we know that this feeling is not necessary for anything.
Taking breaks may not have been the habit you expected, but if you think about it, it makes sense that taking breaks will help you become more creative and productive (and therefore more successful). Especially when it comes to solving problems, it helps enormously to do something different to look at it with a fresh look.
The researchers found that breaks are crucial for coming up with innovative ideas. But it’s not just the breaks themselves that make the difference to your productivity. To fully enjoy the benefits, you also need to schedule them.
Why you should schedule breaks
The thing is, most people can’t judge themselves whether they’re ‘stuck’ and need a break. “Participants who did not take breaks wrote down ‘new’ ideas that were very similar to their old ideas,” the researchers write. In other words: they got stuck in a certain thinking pattern, and that kills their productivity.
Anyone who has ever brainstormed knows that it is difficult to come up with other kinds of ideas after a while. At some point, you will build on what you have already thought of.
“They felt they were doing a good job, but their actual progress was limited,” the researchers write. The solution is, therefore, to schedule your breaks. In this way, you force yourself to distance yourself not to get stuck without noticing it. Scheduling breaks also make it easier for you to take breaks instead of “going on” anyway.
So grab that agenda and plan those breaks. It would help if you had that much break every day to perform optimally.