Productive Downtime: How Taking Breaks Boost Your Productivity

18 Apr, 2023 | Read in 6 minutes

Take a break from your work and learn how to get the most out of your downtime. Discover the many benefits of taking breaks and how to stay productive during downtime.


As the old saying goes, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". It's no secret that taking breaks can boost your productivity, but did you know that downtime can also be productive?

Many of us are guilty of pushing ourselves to the limit, working long hours, and skipping breaks to meet tight deadlines. However, we fail to realise that taking breaks and engaging in production downtime can improve our productivity.

Our brain weighs about 2% of your entire body weight, yet it uses about 20% of the energy that our body produces. It makes sense that a lot of rest would also be needed in addition to the calories consumed.

So, what are the benefits of taking breaks and how to stay productive during downtime? 

What is Productive Downtime?

Downtime refers to the time for a person can relax. While productive downtime refers to the time when you take a break from your routine work but still engage in activities that are productive and beneficial in some way. 

It's essentially a way of using your downtime to do something that helps you grow, rather than just wasting time on unproductive or meaningless activities.

For example, productive downtime could involve reading a book related to your field of work or a self-improvement book, learning a new skill or language, or engaging in a hobby that improves your creativity or problem-solving abilities.

The idea behind productive downtime is that you're still taking a break from your work, but you're using that time to do something that will help you become a better version of yourself or achieve your goals more effectively. 

By incorporating productive downtime into your routine, you can recharge your energy while also making progress towards your personal or professional goals.

The Importance of Taking Breaks

The research found that taking a break can be very helpful for you and your work, according to your study.  It has been demonstrated that taking short breaks frequently, midday breaks, and longer breaks all improve well-being and productivity. Regular breaks will improve your performance.

Here are the benefits of taking breaks:

  • Prevent Burnout: Taking breaks can help prevent burnout by giving you time to rest and recharge. When you work for long hours without taking breaks, you can become overwhelmed and stressed, leading to burnout.
  • Boost Productivity: Breaks can boost your productivity by improving your concentration, memory, and creativity. When you take a break, you give your brain a chance to rest and reset, making it easier to focus on the task at hand.
  • Improve Health: Sitting at a desk for long periods can have negative effects on your health. Taking breaks can help you combat these negative effects by getting up and moving around, stretching, and taking care of your body.

How does Downtime Relate to Productivity?

Incorporating regular downtime into your workday can help you perform at your best. Here are the reasons downtime relates to productivity:

1. Prevent burnout

Working too much can lead to burnout, which can have negative consequences on productivity. Burnout can cause fatigue, lack of motivation, and decreased job performance. 

Taking downtime allows us to recharge and prevent burnout, which can help us stay productive and focused.

2. Improves creativity

Downtime allows us to step away from our work and gain new perspectives. This can lead to increased creativity and innovative thinking, which can have positive effects on productivity. 

When we take a break from our work and engage in other activities, we give our brains a chance to rest and refresh, which can spark new ideas and solutions.

3. Improves mental health

Mental health is essential to productivity. Our productivity can suffer when stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. Downtime can help us reduce stress and improve our mental health, which can positively affect productivity.

By engaging in activities that we enjoy and that help us relax, we can reduce stress and improve our overall well-being.

4. Increases motivation

When we take time to rest and recharge, we come back to our work with renewed motivation and energy. This can help us stay focused and engaged, which can have positive effects on productivity. 

By prioritising downtime and taking breaks throughout the day, we can maintain motivation and energy levels throughout the workday.

How to Stay Productive During Downtime

  • Plan Your Project: Use your downtime to plan for your next task or project. This can include creating a to-do list, outlining your goals, or brainstorming ideas. This will help you stay focused and productive when it's time to work again.
  • Learn Something New: Use your downtime to learn a new skill or read about a topic related to your work. This will help you expand your knowledge and become more productive in the long run.
  • Connect with Coworkers: Use your downtime to connect with coworkers and build relationships. This can include walking, grabbing a coffee, or having a quick chat. Building positive relationships with coworkers can improve collaboration and productivity.
  • Take a Break: Use your downtime to rest and recharge. This can include taking a nap or going for a walk. So, you'll feel refreshed and ready to tackle your tasks.
  • Disconnect from technology: Take a break from your phone or desktop screen to give your eyes and brain a rest. Stepping away a while from screens can help reduce eye strain, headaches, and fatigue.

The Importance of Scheduling Downtime in Your Workday

When you schedule downtime, you're giving yourself permission to take a break and recharge your batteries. It's a way of prioritising your mental health and well-being, which ultimately benefits both you and your work. 

By scheduling downtime, you're also creating a structure for your day that helps you stay on track and avoid burnout. You can set your availabilities time for work if try a project management tool using VirtualSpace.

Here are a few reasons why it's important to schedule downtime in your workday:

  • Increases productivity: As we've already discussed, taking breaks and engaging in production downtime can boost your productivity. When you give your brain a chance to rest and recharge, you'll be able to return to your work with renewed energy and focus.
  • Reduces stress: Taking breaks and engaging in activities that help you relax can reduce stress levels and prevent burnout. It's a way of giving yourself a mental break and allowing yourself to reset.
  • Improves overall well-being: When you prioritise your mental health and well-being, you'll feel better both inside and outside of work. Taking breaks and engaging in activities you enjoy can improve your mood and increase your sense of fulfilment.

So, how do you schedule downtime in your workday? Block off specific periods in your calendar for breaks or productive downtime activities. 

For example, you can schedule a 15-minute break mid-morning and mid-afternoon, or block off an hour for a lunchtime yoga class. Whatever works for you, make it a priority and stick to it.


Taking breaks is important for maintaining productivity. By planning, learning something new, connecting with coworkers, and taking breaks, you can make the most of your downtime and stay productive at work. 

So, next time you feel overwhelmed or stressed, remember to take a break and engage in activities that will help you recharge and refresh your mind.


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