Various studies over the years have shown how taking even the shortest of breaks helps our brains reset for the next task. It's also true that without breaks, you might simply be giving yourself decision fatigue. Even if you are just responding to emails, after a while your brain needs a break.
Your breaks should be timed so that you have a period of being extremely focused, which is followed by a break. The way you schedule breaks really depends on what works best for your personal productivity. Some will work for 25 minutes and end the half hour with a five-minute break. Others choose to work for 90 minutes, then take a 30-minute break. Just keep in mind that your break should be appropriately proportional to the amount of time you are working.
If you are opting for shorter, more frequent breaks, use this this time to refill your bottle of water or allow yourself some time to daydream, stretch, or do a short exercise. If you are taking longer breaks, go for a walk, do a bit of yoga, or take a short power nap.
Keep in mind that as you tire your brain out more and more, you'll likely begin making increasingly poor decisions. The best way to spend these short breaks is by getting your blood flowing and completely taking your mind off work. You'll be surprised at how much you can get done in one day by simply taking a few breaks.
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