You're hungry, your eyes hurt, and you aren't even close to finishing that project yet. You might be on your third cup of coffee and hardly have time to run to the bathroom. You're going to work 8 hours straight, but is that healthy?
The Science of Breaks
In June of 2010 the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists released a report stating that 1 in 4 people were damaging their health by not taking breaks.
The problems reported ranged from obesity, to back pain, and depression.
More than 3,000 people were polled and a quarter of them said that they take no lunch break at all.
The study also found that the main reason these employees were overworked was due to their lengthy task list and lack of support staff at their workplace.
Sitting's The New Smoking
The CSP warned that working long hours and being stuck at a desk all day posed 'serious risks' to a persons well-being.
Not taking a break is also damaging for employers, as the new age practice of overworking is costly.
The study found that poor working practices increased the risk of chronic musculoskeletal disorders, such as ongoing back pain - which is a very common reason for long-term leave.
What Good Will a Break Do For You?
Well, firstly, your focus.
Its awesome when you're deep in a task and zoned in, but that doesn't last forever. If you go beyond the productivity zone, whether you know it or not, you actually become more unproductive than if you take a short break.
The human brain wasn't built for the demanding focus we ask of it.
University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras explains:
“…Deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused, from a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task.”