A better 15-minute break: 4 ways to recharge quickly
Stop managing your time; start managing your energy with these four approaches
At a Glance: Get away from your desk for a more productive workday. From a quick workout to a well-deserved rest session, make an effort to get some space for increased focus.
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Sure, we all try to do things to better manage our time. But have you ever thought about managing your energy? Especially when you have studying or a class project to do after work. In his book “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: Four Forgotten Needs that Energize Great Performance,” Tony Schwartz shares the four keys to energy management.
Take a 15- to 20-minute break from work every 90 to 120 minutes to re-energize. Most importantly, use it wisely by focusing on one of these energizers!
Exercising in the middle of a workday can be a powerful pick-me-up. Depending on your work environment, you can power-walk the halls for 15 to 20 minutes or give yourself a set of reps to perform. Push-ups, ab crunches, squats (check with your doctor about what’s best for you). You will increase your heart rate and blood flow, lifting your mood and your metabolism.
Eat a lean protein snack, such as a protein bar, plain Greek yogurt (add honey or fruit if it’s too boring) or a sugar-free yogurt smoothie to reward your hard work. Another power-packed (and delicious) snack we often forget: nuts. They fit easily in your bag and desk drawer, and they won’t spoil if you forget about them. They also fill you up and contain the fiber and healthy fats you need with low sugar. Avoid candy and other vending machine fare, which sends your blood sugar into orbit only to crash right as you hit the stride of your next work or study cycle.
Take a crack at eyes-closed deep breathing. At your desk, in your car or on the bus or train, start with five minutes at a time and work your way up to 15 minutes. It seems simple but it really works.
Read a magazine. Take a stroll. Chat up a friend. Grab a coffee or tea. Do something you love. As long as your break feels relaxing and fun, it qualifies as rest.
Using your breaks to re-energize will not only improve your workday, it will set you up for success at home and with your schoolwork.