The 8-hour working day is created during the industrial revolution. It is a great victory for the workers and syndicates. They reduce 12+ working hours practices. Today we are expected to work for 8 hours in continuous blocks of time. How can we handle that? Is it productive, what kind of work could be done? How can your brain take the load of different length work units? Are breaks any helpful? Read on to find out more.
How to Structure Your Work Day?
A recent study tracked employees’ work habits. The experiment measured how much time people spent on various tasks. The data was compared to the employees’ productivity levels. As an end result, there is a noticeable trend. The length of the workday is not that important for the results. What matters most is how the working time is structured. In general people who take short breaks more often are more productive than people who struggle to work long hours.
The ideal ratio showed 52 minutes of work followed by 17 minutes break. Such a working pace allows high level of focus during work. Approximately one hour of full dedication and a break, separating the person from work and responsibilities. These observation could be generalized in a simple rule:
One Hour On, 15 Minutes Off.
The brain can work intensly up to an hour, followed by low intensity activity or full relax. It is the natural way of focus followed by recovery and less productivity. If you follow this pattern intentionally you may avoid a lot of exhaustion, frustration and burnouts. Instead of battle with fatigue, take a short break and then come back fresh. Putting breaks and working periods into schedule will allow you to plan your workload and not feel guilty about your time off. Knowing breaks boost your productivity justifies the approach. Let us continue with some advice on the subject:
- Break the Day into 1 Hour Intervals. Start with planning. You must know the time available and estimate the work. Break it down to manageable units.
- Respect Your Hour. The strategy works because it allows for maximum energy and focus in a limited time. Use that properly. Don’t waste your energy.
- Rest in Your Breaks. Getting a real rest is essential. You have to go away from what you are doing. The activities during break time should be the most relaxing and recovering possible. Watching youtube, checking facebook – you are still sitting on the computer after all! Take a walk, get some fresh air, move to another room. Find your way to take rest.
- Don’t Wait Too Much for the Break. If you feel tired – it is already too late. You have missed the right pace. You have spent some time working at a low energy level. Break time! The optimal rhythm is broken. It is more efficient to rest for short periods instead of working tired and distracted.