While your employer may appreciate the idea of you dedicating yourself to hours of non-stop work without breaks, if they knew how grinding all day negatively affects your performance, they’d probably be encouraging you to step away from your desk regularly. According to a recent Kansas State University study on “microbreaks”, taking short breaks from work to check Twitter, comment on a Friend’s Facebook post or to play a game on your smartphone can increase your productivity, engagement and overall well-being.
On average, while the 76 employees only spent 22 minutes per 8-hour workday on their smartphones, the study showed that 100% of those who used them to take regular “microbreaks” to play games or to interact with friends or family had lower self-reported stress levels and reported being happier at the end of the workday than those who didn’t.
To help you increase your productivity levels and reduce workplace stress, consider spending a few minutes a day with the following smartphone apps:
When that cranky client or overpowering boss starts getting on your nerves, why not take ten and combat the stress with a mini-meditation session? According to the Mayo Clinic, not only can meditation help relieve stress, it can also alleviate anxiety, chronic pain and depression.
With the Headspace app for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, you’ll find it easy to learn the art of meditation. Through session reminders and options to focus on foundation, health or performance, the 10-minute sessions offered in the free level one course will help you cope during stressful days, while getting you into the habit of meditating regularly. After mastering level one, you can opt for a subscription allowing access to more options and features to expand your practice.
Psychologists have been recommending the practice of journaling to relieve stress for decades. Trying to journal consistently about your life can be difficult at the end of the day, but keeping a day-journal is a great way to clear your mind and blow off steam throughout the workday. Taking a journaling break can help put things into perspective, while also providing a way to document your personal history.
Diaro is a password-protected journaling app that melds traditional diary qualities with digital convenience. The app lets you record multiple daily texts of any length on your Android, iPhone, tablet or iPad device, and add photographs, links and location to each entry. Diaro’s innovative organizational tags and color-coded tabs allow you to organize – and later, search for – your daily thoughts. Dropbox easily syncs Diaro with other compatible devices.
Most animal lovers know that petting a cat can reduce stress – but that can be difficult to do while you’re at work. Recently, a new study published in the Computers in Human Behavior Journal has found that simply looking at online pictures of cats and watching cute videos of their antics can “boost energy levels and increase feelings of happiness”.
So, what better way to relieve workplace stress for a few precious minutes than playing the Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector app for iPhone and Android? When you play this Japanese game, you have one simple job all cat-lovers will appreciate… fix up your garden to attract as many cats as possible. When you attract more cats, you earn collectible cat pictures. Your goal is to attract all the rare cats to your garden. It’s not demanding or exciting, but it’s a pleasant way to spend a few minutes away from work-related tasks.
It’s no secret that physical activity can relieve stress. In fact, according to WebMD, the U.S. surgeon general recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week. Since sitting in even the most ergonomic of office chairs inevitably results in headaches, back pain and lowered productivity, why not get your weekly exercise during work breaks?
All you need is seven minutes and a chair to use the free Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App for iOS and Android, and even works on Apple accessories like the iWatch. The clear interface helps you perform a medium-intensity workout which includes moves such as pushups, side plank, jumping jacks, crunches, tricep dips, and running in place. The perfect app for people of any ability level, the interactive app coaches you through each exercise in the workout.
If you need a few minutes of distraction mid-morning, instead of playing a mindless game on your smartphone, why not use that time to do something useful? Like learn a new language, or brush up on old language skills? With the free Duolingo language learning app, a few minutes a day is all you need to get started learning some new lingo. Whether you are an absolute beginner, or just need a refresher course, because the app uses a gaming model with simple functions, you’ll feel less like you’re studying and more like you’re playing an easy-to-navigate game. Learning a new skill during your office breaks can pay off in other ways – you can link your progress to your Linkedin profile to showcase your language learning progress to prospective future employers.
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