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Take 5 to Keep Yourself Going

Find yourself getting sleepy at the computer? Writers block setting in? Does your brain feel cloudy? Feel your motivation level drop off at certain times throughout the day?

These are all common symptoms of fatigue and lack of focus (I can hear the scientists wanting to bash me for that general statement, oh well!). The symptoms aren’t as important as the reason why they happen…and more importantly how to resolve them.

When sleepiness creeps in and lack of focus blurs your brain from moving forward it can be devastating to your day and getting the things you need to done.

The Culprit?
The cause can be anything from lack of sleep, starring at a monitor for too long, and eating the wrong foods (which spike your sugar level up and down) to name a few.

Get Your Groove Back
Luckily there is an easy solution to all of this. Short breaks.

I’ve found taking 5 minute breaks throughout the day to be extremely effective in refocusing my mind and generating new ideas – not to mention helping me get more done throughout the day.

5 Minute Tips
You can take the 5 minutes anytime you need them. I usually do every hour or two.

Here are a few ways I spend those 5 minutes:

  • Doing push ups and sit ups – While I go to the gym daily, this break not only gets the blood moving around my body (great for energy), it keeps me fit and pumped to get back to work.
  • Take a walk. Yeah I know, 5 minutes isn’t much time for a walk. But I’ll stroll out to drop off the mail and stretch my legs.
  • Fresh air. This is similar to the above, but there’s something about fresh air. Whether I hit the patio or walk a couple of blocks, fresh air does wonders.
  • Read a magazine. I’ll pick up one of the magazines we have a subscription to, like Inc or National Geographic and read an article. This takes my mind off whatever I’m working on – great – and it also helps to generate new ideas.
  • Make an espresso. Yeah, this is probably more caffeine than anything else, but as I wait for the water to steam up I get to relax my mind.

Those are just a few ideas I’ve found helpful.

Share how you take your 5 minute break or if you have another tip for getting your energy back (or keeping it) throughout the day in the comments below.


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8 thoughts on “Take 5 to Keep Yourself Going

  1. Sam Zipursky says:

    Mike, nice ideas and post. I personally use the coffee tip but can only do that about once an afternoon or it's just too much caffeine. My other tip is to read a newsletter or blog post I've starred and have been waiting to read but haven't had the chance to yet! I limit it to that one post or newsletter so it doesn't drain too much time but just refreshes my mind.

  2. Stephen says:

    I take a nap for 20 mins once a day. That helps very much.

    • Stephen – the Power Nap! Nice one. I go both ways on that. I've tried it and sometimes feel very refreshed. Other times I wake up feeling sleepier than before….Hmm…

  3. I'd like to add some suggestions that work for me. One is little micro-yoga breaks. Combined with some deep breathing and a couple of stretches this gets the blood flowing and is easy to do in any space. There are lots of sites that pop up if you query "office yoga."

    Like Stephen, I also give myself permission to take naps (mine are longer, but I don't mind working later). Other nations have siestas as part of their day and it works for me. It refreshes my brain to continue working on certain tasks, especially writing.

    Another is to have some tea. I'm not a coffee drinker, but either having a good "cuppa" as my Nana would have said, or a nice anti-oxidant herbal tea helps too, because you get a break from sitting while you get it ready.

    Finally, breaking things up by having calls with clients, or others helps me get back to computer and/ or creative work.

    Thanks for the tips everyone.

    • Tracey – thanks for sharing those tips! Yeah, gotta keep the coffee in check for sure. Green tea is great.

    • Nesar says:

      thanks for tips and It is great!

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