“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.” ~ Russel Eric Dobda

How you take a break absolutely matters to the quality of your recharge. When we work, we do so in one of three channels – cognitive, physical or emotional – so, when you break from one, recharge in one of the others. If you work at a desk with a computer it’s all cognitive. When you break, choose physical or emotional ways to recharge: get up and move, refuel, and chat with others. If your work is physical in nature, your break might include a bit of paperwork, reading, or sitting in silence (cognitive or emotional).

Which channel do you usually work in? Improve the quality of your breaks by recharging in a different channel! Watch the video below (or read the transcript that follows) to learn more about these three work channels and how to take a quality break.

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here. Hands up if you skip your coffee break and take your lunch at your desk. It is something that most busy people are guilty of every single day. So, I want to talk to you about taking a break; not only that it is incredibly important that you do, but that it’s incredibly important that you think about the quality of the break that you take. First of all, our brains aren’t meant to work for more than 90 minutes or two hours without having some sort of brain break. Your brain is a massively energy-hungry organ that needs pause every now and then so you can do your best work. But when you take your break, it’s not enough to simply lean back in your chair and pick up your device and start scrolling. If you’ve been working on your computer for the last couple of hours, that cognitive realm and all that screen time needs a different kind of break.

Here’s what I’m talking about. We tend to operate in three channels when we’re working.

1) The cognitive channel; when we’re on the screens, when we’re thinking, when we’re writing, when we’re processing information.

2) The physical channel;  if you’re an athlete or a laborer outdoors or if you are a high-level musician, you’d be working in the physical as you work. You’ll get physically tired from the work you do in this channel.

3) The emotional channel is connecting with people, having conversations. When you are having one-on-one meetings or spending a lot of time in conversation or in that kind of place you’re working in the emotional channel. When I speak in front of audiences or when I coach my clients, I’m in that emotional realm.

It’s important to acknowledge the channel that you are working in, because when you take a break, you need to switch to another channel to fully recharge.

Most of us, when we work, we’re working in the cognitive channel, with our keyboards, on our screens, thinking, reading, processing. If you’re working in this realm, it’s no good to lean back in your chair and pick up your device and start scrolling because that’s going from screen to screen, that’s going from cognitive to cognitive. Your brain is not getting the break that it needs. If we work in the cognitive channel we would all do well to take our break like smokers (without the smoke). When a smoker takes a break, they get up from their desk, they walk outdoors where they get fresh air (for just a moment) and they’re having conversations, generally, with people that they like. So they’re doing at least four things right. If they can quit the smoke, that would be better. And if they could add in some fuel, that would be even better.

When you’re taking your break, get up from your desk, leave your device there. You can do without it for 15 minutes. Get up, go for a walk. Head outside, breathe some fresh air. Get some fuel for recovery. Have conversations with people that you like. Heck, pick up a book with pages that you actually have to turn. Give yourself that much needed cognitive break from the hours of screen time that you get each day, and you will find yourself coming back to work with so much more energy, with so much more focus, with so much more productivity. That’s good for you and that’s good for the work that you’re doing.

When we skip our break, that’s not how we work. That’s not how our body works. We need to think about ways to work better and smarter and with more productivity. If you work in the cognitive channel, take your break in the physical or emotional channel… or both.

If you work in the physical channel, it’s okay to chill out in the cognitive channel, or the emotional one. Get creative about how you truly need to take a break. And I will tell you that almost everybody on this planet needs to take screen-time breaks. Use this as an opportunity this week to practice taking quality breaks and see how you work better. Until next time, I’m Michelle Cederberg reminding you that we’ve got one chance to live this life. I say, dare to live it big and dare to live it with a little bit more brain energy from the quality breaks that you are take.

Speaking of channels, subscribe to my social channels below, and share your comments about how you take smart breaks. Until next time. I have to go take a break.

Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc

Empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.


Get Social with me on:

My Facebook Page