Prove that you are not a robot is that you can’t be productive 24/7. Despite the amount of things to do, we can’t keep our mind always focused, especially at work.

We need a break: a healthy moment to stop and clear our thoughts.

Productivity is always a hot topic, but the idea that Work harder = work better is being eradicate from modern workers. You are not obliged to spend extra hours in front of your computer to be productive, but to spend your regular working schedule in a smart way…which means have smart breaks.

Established that you need breaks, when it is better to take the famous 5?


52:17 Theory

The most productive people work 52 minutes with 17 minutes of break. The statistic comes from a data collector software, DeskTime, that made the math to discover that more breaks produce better work.

Why does the 52:17 ratio work?

These short periods of work produce great results because they’re essentially sprints – intensive, purposeful work sessions that come after a proper rest.

The purposeful working concept can also be called the 100% dedication theory.
In those 52 minutes you will put yourself into your work, you will accomplish the tasks that keep you distracted and you will choose your priorities, while for the 17 minutes after you will be able to relax, take a walk, call your grandma, get a coffee or read the news.

The Pomodoro Technique

This technique isn’t just a way have your work done by today, but a real method to save even more time in the future. The Pomodoro Technique was invented in the final rush of the ’80s by Francesco Cirillo, an italian software developer and entrepreneur, and it’s named after the well known tomato-shaped timer used in the kitchen to check cooking times.

You have 5 basic steps to follow:

  1. Choose an activity
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes
  3. Work without interruptions (Well, let’s say that cut the distractions can be an under-step)
  4. Take a break of 5 minutes and then repeat from point 1
  5. Once you have “completed” 4 timer rounds of 25 minutes each, take a break of 02-30 minutes.

This technique is perfect for writer, lawyers, students but even parents!

Now that you are informed, choose your technique or follow your own method, but be careful there are good breakd and bad breaks.

Which one are the breaks to avoid?

Not all breaks have the same value. Something can relax our brain more than something else: many people think that a real break from your computer desk should be disconnected from all digital devices. No mails, no Facebook, no texting nor Instagram lurking. Moreover, you should not use the time of your break to organise your work or think about the amount of things to do left behind.

If you have only few minutes, leave the desk, eat a snack and read some papers that you are willing to read since the first hours of the morning and you had no time to. A break means also a coffee, an inspirational TEDTalk video, setup your desk (yes, work in an organised environment can help you to improve your productivity), take a walk, listen to a podcast or make a phone call that you have postponed since centuries.

For the health enthusiasts, take a break can be the moment to do some excercice: a gym class or some desk-yoga position.

In conclusion, take a break and take it good:

– It is important and it will give you energy to keep going and be productive

– Have 5 minutes to disconnect reduces stress and helps you to face the rest of the day

– It helps you to change your mind and spur your creativity.