Ideal work to break ratio

  • September 07, 2016
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Ideal work to break ratio

The eight-hour workday was created during the industrial revolution in an effort to cut down on the number of hours of manual labor that workers were forced to endure on the factory floor. This breakthrough was a more humane approach to work 200 years ago, yet it possesses little relevance for us today.Like our ancestors, we are expected to put in eight-hour days, working in long and continuous blocks of time with few or no breaks.A study recently conducted by the Draugiem Group used a computer application to track employees’ work habits. Specifically, the application measured how much time people spent on various tasks and compared this with their productivity levels.In the process of measuring people’s activity, they stumbled upon a fascinating finding: The length of the workday didn’t matter much; what mattered was how people structured their day. In particular, people who were taking short breaks were far more productive than those who worked longer hours.The ideal work-to-break ratio was 52 minutes of work, followed by 17 minutes of rest. People who maintained this schedule had a unique level of focus in their work. For roughly an hour at a time, they were 100 percent dedicated to the task they needed to accomplish. When they felt fatigue, they took short breaks, during which they completely separated themselves from their work. This helped them to drive back in refreshed for another productive hour of work. The brain naturally functions in spurts of high energy (roughly an hour) followed by spurts of low energy (15 to 20 minutes).Real breaks are easier to take when you know they’re going to make your day more productive. Breaks such as walking, reading, and chatting are the most effective forms of recharging, because they take you away from your work. When you disrespect your break by texting, checking emails, or doing a quick Facebook check, you defeat the entire purpose of the approach.Thus, eight-hour workday can work for you if you break your time into strategic intervals. Once you align your natural energy with your effort, things being to run much more smoothly.Bringing it all together, breaking your day down into chunks of work and rest that match your natural energy levels feels good, makes your workday go faster, and boosts your productivity.Credit to: The perfect amount of time to work each day by Travis Bradberry, co-author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0
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