This Amazingly Simple Tip Improved my Editing
I never expected it to be so easy. I am still amazed at how much taking a break has helped my editing. The science is there and yet this isn’t a no-brainer for a lot of people. Myself included.
Now you might be thinking…
If you weren’t, well you are now. More important have you eaten? I forget to do that sometimes and breaks are a great time to grab a snack!
There are a lot of articles delving into the science when it comes to taking breaks. I have opted to share Give me a break from the American Psychological Association. It is worth the read and I’ll admit it isn’t too dry which is a nice change.
Psychological Benefits of Taking Breaks
- Reduces stress and in some cases can even prevent it completely.
- Helps maintain overall focus.
- Increases energy and reduces chances of exhaustion.
- Resets your mood.
- Gives you fresher eyes.
Everyone Takes Breaks Differently
This is still something that many people fail to understand. I know it can be tricky from a business perspective when breaks aren’t at a fixed time. Scheduling can be a bit tricky but is that reason enough to risk destroying another person?
I will admit I have a bias as a majority of my working background has been in office-style environments. There are some exceptions and I’ll touch on them as well. After all, they’re examples of how not taking breaks or enough breaks affected me.
Timely spaced-out breaks
This is probably the most common style of breaks. In the United States at least, because of the federal/state labor laws.
It goes along the lines of, every 6-8 hours a worker should have a minimum of a 30-minute meal break. Also every 4 hours they should have a 10-15 minute break. Often your breaks are put in the middle of their respective timeframes.
Does this work for you?
Personally, while I can make this work for me I have found at times it isn’t enough. Sometimes it isn’t enough in a time sense as my brain needs more breaks. Other times it is the spaced-out factor that needs to shift.
When there’s a visual or auditory distraction in the background (Videos, TV, Music, etc.). Before I continue I will say this doesn’t make up for taking a longer break at some point. Sometimes doing a task or multiple tasks is much easier when you have a small distraction.
When it comes to writing, programming, or a repetitive task this is usually quite helpful. Unfortunately, it is also sometimes hard to justify with upper management. The perception seems to overshadow the fact that humans can multi-task and often do it very well.
These used to be called smoke breaks when smoking was more popular. Sometimes your brain just needs a quick change of scenery.
Instead of taking longer breaks less often if you split up the time and take smaller breaks more often.
These are just 3 examples of break structures. There are many more ways to take breaks to help your mind recover. In short, there is no one way to take a break.
More so, DON’T SKIP BREAKS!
I could make the comment of humans aren’t machines. However, if you’ve ever done any sort of machine work or IT support you know even machines need breaks.
This is true about writing and editing. We’ll get caught up in the moment and go “blind” to errors because we’ve been staring at what is written for took long. Sometimes there are deadlines and we use those to justify skipping breaks. That justification or what I prefer to call it, that excuse is hurting you.
While you’re writing your first pass “Background Breaks” as I called them can be amazing. That said, they aren’t enough when editing.
Have a deadline? Take a micro-break at least to look away from the text/content/copy. Ideally, you should take a longer break to help your mind forget what it perceived when you were editing.
I’m sure you’ve seen those “you’re a genius if you can read this” types of posts/quizzes/memes?
I hate to break it to you, you aren’t a genius just because your mind can correctly process text backward. Or upside down. Or correctly process a sentence/thought with typos. Or find a word in a sea of letters. The list goes on, yes your mind is marvelous. And you might even be a genius, however, those posts/quizzes/memes aren’t why.
Consider that if your mind can do all of that, then maybe, just maybe, you didn’t read what was actually written. How can you edit something if you might be processing it incorrectly?
Take Breaks when you get to the editing phase.
Have a second set of eyes give it a pass too!