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Stop And Get Some Rest - How Taking Breaks Can Boost Your Productivity

Ivan Jerković, Mid Software Developer

In today's fast-paced world where work has become an inevitable part of our lives, we often forget how important it is to take a break from work and devote ourselves to our thoughts. Not in the sense of rest, but how rest actually has a great effect on our productivity.

Listen to yourself

As programmers, we often come across big obstacles, problems that seem unsolvable, but in the end, through the process of trying to solve them, we come to a solution. Sometimes it's enough to turn to a colleague, we don't even need an answer, it's enough to explain the problem and suddenly we find a solution, the so-called 'Rubber duck debugging'. Some problems are a bit bigger though, when designing the entire code/functionality structure. Explaining the entire structure of the functionality to a colleague who is not on the project is not quite right. We spend days figuring out how to solve the problem and that brings us to the topic of this blog. The brute force method is not the solution and will only waste our precious time.

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My mind needs rest

Every day we think about a lot of things, what problems our children have, whether our pets are well at home, how our better half is doing, various events at work, problems related to our work and various other things. It's a noise in the head that doesn't interfere with easier tasks at work, but it's a big problem for deep thinking. Focusing is very difficult in such an environment and we need solitude, to separate ourselves from the whole world and allow ourselves space to think.

Activities as an escape

Various physical activities are great for cleansing from torment. The method of clearing the mind from noise through physical activity is nothing new and we can see many people going for regular runs. Serengeti also has a group for runners, which is great. and more members should join. Running is one of the simplest ways because it is enough to just go out and simply run. Some, however, have different ways like the gym, yoga, meditation, swimming, or something else. In terms of productivity and efficiency, I think two activities are better than all the others.


I am into cycling and it has helped me countless times with problems at work. During the 2-hour drive, you are alone the whole time and you have a lot of time to simply think, it's not even something you have to actively do, the thoughts come by themselves. Many times, I struggle with how to implement something and figure out the best way to fit it into the whole system, and while driving, thoughts of other perspectives come to me, ideas that I would never normally think of. Why cycling? Because it allows me to go fast or slow. I can ride for half an hour, an hour, two, or even the whole day, but an hour to two is the most efficient because an activity shorter than an hour does not provide enough time to relax and there is no time for thoughts and ideas to simply start coming, while on rides longer than two hours there comes the moment when I don't have much to think about and I start to get tired, so my thoughts focus on my body and fatigue. It's up to the person, so times may vary. But cycling is not a very cheap sport, and other activities give the same results.

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The simplest form of activity that comes to mind is walking. The advantage of walking over running is that it allows us to walk longer than we can run. Running for an hour is not very easy and it is quite tiring, and I think that an activity longer than an hour is needed. Walking is a light activity where you don't think about your body and how it reacts to the activity, as while running, and it is possible to walk for two hours. You don't need any equipment for walking, so it's a much cheaper activity than cycling, but it is recommended to go for a walk outside the city. People who live in Zagreb can recommend a route on the ridge or along the embankment along the Sava river.

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What is the conclusion then?

The most important thing is to choose an activity that does not burden us, an activity that we enjoy because the goal is to relax our mind and not to think about when this agony will end. It is also important that the activities are independent and not group. The quality of work will increase drastically, and your mental health will not suffer either.

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