Stop right now. Stand up and move away from your computer. Well, read this article first, then do it. Give yourself (and, more importantly, your eyes and your brain) a five minute break from what you are doing. Go for a short walk. Grab yourself a drink. Make a cup of tea. Let the blood flow a bit. Take a look out the window. Ask someone a question about work, or about something that has nothing to do with work. You deserve a break. More importantly, you need a break. You´ll be all the more productive because of it.
That advice is both incredibly obvious and shockingly overlooked. We know the difference that five minutes of distraction can make to our focus, our mood and our productivity, but we always find ways to talk ourselves out of it. We can convince ourselves that we are too busy to take a break, that we don´t have the time, that we are almost done whatever we are doing, or that we are in some sort of a groove that will be irretrievably lost if we move. That´s all pretty easy to make ourselves believe. It´s also complete rubbish.
By taking a short break once in a while as we are working away at the computer we are investing in the ultimate length and effectiveness of our work schedule. Even the same three hour session, for example, will likely be much more productive and enjoyable if you give yourself two five minute breaks than it would be if you just sat down and worked straight through. Here´s the thing — your mind is going to take a break at some point whether you let it or not. It´s going to reach a point of fatigue or boredom and it´s going to wander off at the expense of your focus. If you take control of those meanderings, choose the time for them to occur, and make them enjoyable, then you´ll be much further ahead in the long run.
I know you know this. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of what we intuitively know to be true. That´s really very true and applicable to most things we do that affect our productivity.