“Take a break? I can’t do that, I’m far too busy”, is what you have been telling yourself all along, right? I too fell into this creative pitfall of productivity. Why should you take a break? Surely when you take a break, it means you’re not working, hence being unproductive.
When I talk to other designers about taking breaks after projects, this seems to be the majority mindset on taking breaks. Unless otherwise, a fear of slowing down may set in. As Newtons first law of motion suggests, objects in motion tend to stay in motion.
Taking a break is a great asset to your process as it can shake your routine, takes you out of your element so you can see problems clearer, and can even kickstart your senses and creativity.
For this, you need to focus your break time and designate your time to something in particular, not just squander it on anything and everything. If your being distracted by something and find that your concentration is being broken. Write that something down, assign time and attention to it, this can act as a quelling mechanism to satisfy your mind for when you return to your primary work.
For example, if you find yourself wondering to Facebook every few minutes of a project. Your mind isn’t focused on what you have to do. Assign a time and a time limit in your day that allows you to go on Facebook. This is focused, and dedicated time. It allows you to feel satiated that you have spent some time with the task (distraction) and allows for easy transitioning into the next task or project.
A good practice for being productive about your time is to do this the night before. Write down your tasks, what you need to get done, and potential distractions and dedicate a portion of time in the day to them. This helps to free up your mind so your brain doesn’t have to process what you have to do on this day, you already know what needs to be done coming into the day.
There are a couple of different types of breaks you can take;
– Unproductive breaks. This is time to just relax and not think of anything related to a project and nothing to do with your work.
– Productive Breaks. In which you step back from your primary role, and focus on a task or activity lesser than that of your primary pursuit.
Productive breaks are what a creative type is more used to. They, like me, find it hard to take a break in the first place. It allows you to productively procrastinate with another pursuit, whereby you are taking a break from your primary pursuit, but you are still satisfying your other creative outputs and still feeling productive with your time.
You can also take “Thinking Breaks”, whereby your completely switch off, digitally and physically, just to let your mind wander. Perhaps you have a space that you like to go to in order to relax. I find that I get most of my great ideas and answers to the problems I’m working on when I’m just thinking, solitary, to myself.
Just allowing your thoughts to run wild, while keeping a notepad nearby to document them is incredibly satisfying.
Make more time for thinking. Make more time for breaks.
Breaks can help you reframe your work, with a fresh perspective and open an avenue for you to deliver more value and greater quality to your work as a direct consequence.
Don’t be misled by the thought of your downtime being an unproductive period. There isn’t a much emphasis put on taking breaks because the results are intangible. you can’t see the results immediately as opposed to work, but as I mentioned above, breaks are an imperative part of the creative process. And something more creatives should utilise.
“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” – Jessica Hische.