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Focus on Breaks

What way of working will achieve better results? To keep working around the clock to meet a deadline or stopping to take regular breaks? Unsurprisingly, it’s the latter however do you take regular breaks? Have a break! Have a Kit Kat!

I couldn’t resist sharing that old advertising tag line. For me, it’s become such an engrained response over decades! In the 18th century, an innkeeper Christopher Catling, known as ‘Kit Cat’ to his friends, would host The Kit-Cat Club and meet regularly in a tavern in Shire Lane in London. Knowing about how Catling and his friends would take these breaks, the marketing and advertising agency, J Walter Thompson, combined the idea of associating the Kit Kat bar with the enjoyment of a short break from the working day just as the Kit-Cat Club had done two centuries earlier. The strap line, ‘Have a break. Have a Kit Kat.’ was created in 1957 to reflect the 11am tea break in British factories. Affectionately often referred to as ‘elevenses’ however taking a break was popularised by the brilliant television Kit Kat advertising a year later which is how it became a common household phrase still used to this day. That’s 86 years advocating taking breaks! A most memorable micro-script as my guest Bill Schley from episode 080 would say, "it’s not what you hear, it’s what you repeat!" Simply by stepping away from your desk not only gives you more energy, it helps you to focus and it also gives you a much needed stretch and screen break. Being overly sedentary is now referred to as the ‘silent killer’ and needs to be taken very seriously. It was for this reason that I bought a standing desk last October and have reorganised my desk to ensure that standing becomes second nature especially when I am presenting or in meetings. Some of the benefits of standing include a lessened risk of weight gain, reduction in back pain and is said to improve productivity levels. Do you find that you sit at your desk for prolonged periods of time trying to solve a problem and yet the moment you step away, ideas come flooding in? This also likely happens when you are out on a walk or when you are in the shower. It’s because the subconscious brain is still unconsciously processing potential solutions. So that moment when you think you’ll just do another extra task at your desk before you take your next break is probably exactly the time you need to stop, get up and go for a walk. You will come back more refreshed, more calm and more importantly, more productive. However, I’m not just talking about these short productive breaks taken during the working day, I’m recommending taking a complete break away from your usual routine to give yourself a reboot. Last week I took three days off work to go on a mini break to the south coast of England with my husband and it was absolute bliss. I was so relaxed and completely present in the moment just listening to the waves crash onto the beach in a rhythmic, hypnotic way. The sea air and sunshine certainly worked their magic. I didn’t realise how much I needed the break until I was there. So, as we head into the summer months, it's time to focus on breaks!

ACTION POINT Prioritise breaks, rest and get yourself outside.


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