Chances are you’ve gotten a dirty look or two over the years from your boss for taking a casual break early in the workday. But did you know that these breaks are more productive for you than those taken later in the day? According to a new study, mid-morning breaks are significantly more restorative than mid-afternoon ones.
That’s right — you can actually justify the 11 a.m. coffee run you’ve been feeling guilty about taking every day. Contrary to the common belief that coffee breaks are best used to refuel during the long afternoon hours, a study led by two professors at Baylor University showed that the more time that had passed since the beginning of the workday, the less useful a break was. Breaks (defined as any period of time in which work tasks were not required or expected — lunch, coffee and socializing were all included) taken earlier in the day were more likely to replenish energy, concentration and motivation. The researchers concluded that it’s easier to restore these resources earlier during the workday, as they naturally fade over the course of the day.
Sure, we may have previously advocated for exactly 2:16 p.m. as the ideal time to drink coffee. But that research was based solely on the most common time for energy slumps and did not take into account the idea of increased productivity. Besides, who’s to say that we can’t all take a few — or, better yet, a handful — of strategically placed breaks throughout the day?