Whether you work in an office, a co-working space or at home, too much desk time can ultimately impact on your outcomes – be it efficiencies, creativity, meaningful connections or well-being.Here are five compelling reasons you need to take a mini-break from your desk. Right now. (1) You will boost your productivity We’re not machines – each of us has mental and physical limitations. While many of us feel compelled to plough through task after task, this can be counter-productive. The longer we try to focus on any one topic, the tougher it can become to stay truly focused on the task at hand. We all know the benefits of the “little and often” principle but increasingly, evidence shows micro-breaks don’t always do the job when it comes to recharging our brain-power. Longer breaks – popping out for a coffee with an associate or a lunch break – are better at giving your mind a real rest and focus on things. This keeps you refreshed and boosts performance levels when you’re back at work. (2) You will super-charge your creativity Chances are your best ideas don’t hit you when you’re slouched over your lap-top. They come to you while you’re out running, when you’re in the shower, or making dinner. That’s because you’re freeing your brain up to consider new and fresh ideas, rather than furrowing over a problem where you can’t see the woods for the trees. Take that walk, pop into a gallery, browse around your local bookshop – just be. Letting your mind wander will allow new ideas to flow as you temporarily distance yourself from the limitations and noise channeled through screens. (3) You will expand your network While tapping out emails or blitzing LinkedIn in a 15-minute free window can help, stepping away from your desk and making personal connections will take you so much further than online networking or social media. There. I said it: networking in person is alive and well. Invest time in face-to-face time, get a different perspective, connect with a new associate, explore collaboration opportunities, work out how to help someone. The chances are that hour will make a greater difference to your day – or someone else’s – than an hour of screen time ever would. (4) You will get a little bit healthier While nipping out for lycra-clad action may not be your bag, it’s a truth that our sedentary lifestyles in the workplace aren’t doing our health any favours. As business owners, we are incredibly guilty of not taking that time to give ourselves a break. While we wait for the standing desk to go mainstream however, there’s a strong argument to just grab a 20-minute walk to break up the five hours and 41 minutes we spend sitting at our desks every day. Better still, team up with a colleague or client and go for a walking meeting, take in a change of scene and a fresh perspective. (5) You’ll get a sense of perspective Growing your business can be isolating; spending hour after hour in front of a screen even more so. Keeping your head down means you may not be aware of your surrounding environment – shifts within your team, client needs or even an emerging issue on a project. Stepping away from your desk means you can quite literally zoom out to get a good look at the bigger picture. Away from the distraction of email and newsletter updates you’ve forgotten you subscribed to, you can refocus your energy the priority tasks with a fresh pair of eyes. Louize Clarke is co-founder of GROW@GreenPark.
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