At Harvard Business Review, Ron Friedman explains why we should take a minimum of two, 15-minute breaks throughout the work day:
You might worry that if you take a break, you’ll lose momentum and find it impossible to regain your stride. But the research tells us otherwise…No matter how engaged we are in an activity, our brains inevitably tire. And when they do, the symptoms are not necessarily obvious…
Following a brief intermission, picking up where you left off forces you to take a few seconds to think globally about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. It’s a practice that encourages us to stay mindful of our objectives…One approach that can help involves blocking out a couple of planned 15-minute intermissions on your calendar, one in the mid-morning and the other in the mid-afternoon.
As Friedman explains: a break can feel counter-productive. But without well-timed, regular breaks, our brains become fatigued and unable to maintain our optimum levels of productivity.
In his article, Friedman writes that 3:00 in the afternoon is the most common time of day for burning out in the afternoon. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to schedule your afternoon break around then, what’s most important is that you’re scheduling breaks at all.