5 Minute Breaks, 10 Times More Productive

Categories: All About Touch Typing, Ergonomics, Typing Science |

When you’re focused and concentrating on a task, whether that’s studying for an examination, trying to learn a new language, or getting familiar with a new piece of equipment at work, your brain is working hard. In fact, the amount of information you’re trying to stuff into your mind can give you the impression that your head is literally full, and that at a certain point you just can’t cram in even the smallest additional fact. It’s a familiar sensation to all of us – but the interesting thing is that even when your mind is working its hardest, it’s still not working as hard as when you’re totally relaxed and not thinking about anything in particular. In a fascinating article that recently appeared in the journal Scientific American, researchers and neuroscientists confirmed that the brain is actually 20 times more active during rest and meditation than when a person is concentrating on solving a problem. This “default mode network” (DMN) appears to be crucially important in learning and in developing the physical structures in the brain, especially those related to memory. What’s more, regular breaks, naps, “time out” periods, and vacations all contribute to better health and overall well-being.

These findings mean that whether you’re spending an hour a day working on your typing skills, or if you’ve got a job that requires you to stay at the keyboard all day long, you’ll be more productive in the end if you take regular breaks. Instead of working on your typing for an hour, practice for 15 minutes, then take a five-minute break, and then start another 15-minute session. While this means that you’re only getting 45 minutes of actual typing during that hour, you’ll be able to use those breaks to stretch your hands and shoulders to relieve tension. You can get up and walk around and start the blood flowing through your body and up into your brain, which needs oxygen to build the neural network that lets you develop the unconscious skill in your fingers that come from trained muscle memory. Use this pattern when you’re at work, and you’ll find that your energy level stays high – both your physical energy and your mental energy. You’ll get through your work quickly and efficiently, ready to leave at the end of the day with everything checked off your to-do list, and that will make your free time even more relaxing. More relaxation at home means less stress at work, which leads to more efficiency … it’s a healthy cycle that you can start at any time. So once you’ve finished reading the Scientific American article, step away from the computer, take a break, and start relaxing into a healthy mind and body!

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