The Best Work-Break Ratio According To Science
In this tutorial, I’m going to teach you about the best work to break ratio according to science. When most people talk about productivity and staying focused at work, they only focus on when you are actually working. They fail to mention that you must take breaks to stay motivated and focused throughout the day.
Still, both taking too many or too few breaks can hinder your performance. So, it is important to find a happy balance in your work break to ratio throughout the day. Let’s get started and learn how to take breaks more effectively.
Why Breaks Matter
Before digging into the proper ratio, let’s talk about why it is important to take breaks. Simply put, our brains are not equipped to be on all the time. According to science, our brains need at most 1 hour of work, followed by 15 minutes of rest.
By creating a structure in our work periods, we are less likely to be enticed by temptations, such as Facebook or non-work related emails. In other words, breaks give our brains a time to rest so that we can be fully tuned in during the work portion.
The Pomodoro Technique
Although you can certainly try the 1 hour on and 15 minutes off approach, you will likely find it very challenging at first. Unless you have already been working towards focus, you probably need more breaks. That’s where the pomodoro technique comes into play.
The pomodoro technique is considered one of the most effective time management methods. It allows you to have structured work and break times so that your brain gets into a consistent focused flow. Still, the pomodoro technique gives you shorter breaks that are dispersed more frequently. Let’s take a closer look at this technique.
With the pomodoro technique, decide on what task you need to do first. Then, set a pomodoro timer for how long you want to work. This timer is traditionally set for 25 minutes, but you can change the time based on your personal preferences and current abilities. Work until the timer rings.
Then, take a 3 to 5 minute break. Get back to work once that short break is up and set the timer for 25 minutes again. Repeat this process four times. After the fourth 25-minute working session, take a longer break. This break should be between 15 and 30 minutes. After the 30 minute break is up, start over, beginning with a 25 minute work session and 5 minute break.
It is important that you use up all of your working time. Even if the decided on task is completed, use that time to review the task or plan for your upcoming task.
Build Up Your Concentration
As I already mentioned, the pomodoro technique traditionally uses cycles of 25 minutes. Although this is a really good starting point, it is important to try to build up your concentration levels. Science tells us that our brain works optimally for 1 hour. That hour should be followed buy a 15 minute break.
Start with the traditional 25-minute cycle. As you get used to concentrating for 25 minutes at a time, increase the working time between breaks. Once you are able to concentrate for 1 hour, you know that you have built up your concentration skills for optimal work.
All around, science tells us that working for 1 hour and resting for 15 minutes is the most effective way to stay productive and focused. Use the pomodoro technique to build up your concentration.