When Pressure Is Up, Take a Coffee Break

I know, you don’t have time to stop. Even taking time to read this is barely possible. You always drink your coffee, munch your protein bar and still finish the report or make the next call; all at the same time.

However, you may want to rethink those few minutes of break time, so you can stay more focused and even make better decisions.

And there’s another benefit that research shows, comes with changing your thinking about the importance of taking that much-needed break.

Charlotte Fritz, in her Harvard Business Review article (May 2012), found that coffee breaks don’t boost productivity. Surprised? That is, unless you acknowledge a colleague. Yup, say something nice to someone, and you are the beneficiary. See, I told you science says take that break, and tells you what to do to feel good.

Interesting, that taking time to think about and appreciate someone else can make you faster and smarter in your work.

Guess all the things you were told as a kid about being kind, respectful and acknowledging someone else do make a difference, and not just to them. You also become a recipient of good will.

You agree?

Yet, you ask, “Hey what if I’m in “the zone.” Do I just stop to sip some java, and call someone to tell them they’re great?”

The answer is yes, you stop.

You know that nothing lasts forever. When you’re in the groove, it feels so good. Your proposal or project looks like the gold standard, and thinking is easy. Then suddenly all the great ideas seem to fade away. Why?

Blame it on your brain.

Over the eons our ancestors learned to focus for survival. However, there was a need to track all types of information all at once. Where is the bear? Where is the food? Where is, the storm headed? Where are the kids? It was always hard to just focus on one thing, and guess what, it still is.

They couldn’t, and you can’t sustain focus on only one thing for a super long amount of time.

Work with your brain, see it as your friend, give it what it needs. There’s the focused mode (just paying attention to making sure the numbers add up,) and the diffused mode (staring out the window and daydreaming).

Both have their place. And when you need to take that break and do something else, remember to reach out and touch someone with a kind word or a high five.

Added research shows you should be taking breaks every ninety minutes. Think about all the quick notes of acknowledgment you can do in a day, a week or a month. Your popularity will go to amazing heights.

And by the way, don’t forget to call your mother!


Originally published at Inc