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Take Green Breaks

Take “Green Breaks” to Increase Task Completion

Good time management involves not only focusing on tasks, but also scheduling breaks. Taking breaks to refresh your energy and concentration is an effective way to increase your chances of completing your task.

However, your “fifteen-minute break” may stretch far beyond its allotted time, and you may become distracted by another activity, never returning to your original task. “I’ll sit down to review my finances, need a break, stand up, walk away, and next thing I know, I am doing laundry!” says Phyllis.

Try taking green breaks instead. A green break is a way of refreshing the brain that is brief but effective. It can be done as often as needed but won’t take you far from your task.

To take a green break:

  1. Stand up facing something green. (A tree, a lawn, a leafy plant on a deck, or even a poster of a green pasture will do.)
  2. Focus on the greenery.
  3. Breathe in slowly. Feel your chest rise.
  4. Exhale slowly. Let the air escape fully.
  5. Breathe in again, this time bringing your arms up over your head, then lower them as you breathe out.
  6. Now, drink a glass of water.
  7. Finally, rock slowly from side to side.
  8. Begin working again

The color green, especially in nature, is calming. Rocking and raising your arms is relaxing, the water replenishes you, and the increased oxygen from deep breathing will make you more alert. A green break refreshes you, allowing you to benefit from a break without becoming distracted by other things.

Reader Comments (129)

I find that getting back to what I was doing as quickly as possible after a break requires me to leave obvious clues for myself as to what step of what project I was working on. These can be in Skoach or a post-it arrow pointing to where I left off. Without these clues I can fall back to looking at the entire project trying to reorient myself and easily get overwhelmed and discouraged.

July 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTodd Binenstock

interesting idea... I need to buy a plant now for my office so I can do this :)

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