Why You Should Take Intermissions Instead Of Breaks

Taking short breaks from your work can jolt your productivity and creativity. Breaks can also allow you to step away from the boxes of faces on your computer and look away from a screen for a few moments. You’re likely spending more time meeting with prospects and clients over video calls, and it helps to take a break every so often.

While breaks are beneficial, intermissions are even better, according to Clayton Ruebensaal, the executive vice president of Global B2B Marketing at American Express. That’s because breaks are often helpful for those who work in an office. If you are working from home—as many are amid the pandemic—it’s helpful to carve out a different kind of downtime.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Ruebensaal’s thoughts on how intermissions can increase your overall well-being and why they should replace the usual breaks you may be taking.

What Is An Intermission?
According to Ruebensaal, an intermission is a break that helps you separate your workday from your personal time. Before COVID-19, you probably had a chance to prepare for the day on your morning commute and decompress on your drive or train ride home. You may also have had frequent plane travel that allowed for a break in your day.

The physical distance you had from your home to your office provided concrete dividing lines. It was easier to turn work off by getting out of the office to grab lunch with a colleague or walk away from your desk to visit with someone in another part of your company.

With so many people working from home, these traditional breaks need a little tweaking. That’s because our home lives are now closely connected to our work lives. You can step away from your laptop to refresh with a snack and a beverage in the kitchen, but it probably doesn’t feel like the reboot you need, says Ruebensaal. He notes that even a low-key movie night may not feel so relaxing with the specter of work lurking just around the corner in the home office.

So, what are work-from-home professionals to do? Continue the quick breaks, but also be intentional about taking intermissions.

How Do Intermissions Work?
Intermissions should be separate from your workday. The purpose is to give yourself a longer break from thinking about work. Without forced intermissions that come with long commutes or air travel, it’s important to schedule time for these brain breaks.

According to Ruebensaal, the first step to embracing intermissions is discipline. If it’s important to you, be sure to make time for it. For example, Ruebensaal says he has begun to make time to ride his bike in the morning and in the evening during the times he used to commute. That gives him a break and a change of scenery that allows his brain to reboot.

If you miss the traditional breaks of working in an office or if you find yourself overwhelmed with virtual meetings, try giving yourself some intermissions. These intentional segments of downtime can work wonders for your productivity, creativity and overall health and happiness.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Clayton Ruebensaal is the executive vice president of Global B2B Marketing at American Express, where he brings the company’s vision of being essential to its customers every day to life. Ruebensaal was named one of the world’s most influential global marketers by The Internationalist.

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