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How Fitbit Forced Me To Take Breaks and Be More Productive

How Fitbit Forced Me To Take Breaks and Be More Productive (1)I wrote last year about how my Fitbit taught me some valuable accountability lessons. Now my exercise tracker is continuing to prove its business worth.

Fitbit recently added a new thing to track. If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve probably figured out that my approach to a new challenge is to add it to Habitica and start achieving it. In an attempt to make us more active throughout the day, Fitbit is tracking the number of individual hours you get at least 250 steps. I’ve set it to track from 8 am to 6 pm, so I’m going for 10 of 10 hours.

Unfortunately, the app shows your past performance, from before Fitbit added it as a field in the app display. Ugh. So even though I was making my daily goal of 10K steps, I was only averaging about 6.5 active hours. Not good enough!

Obviously, there are some days when I just can’t make 10. If I have an in-person client meeting from, say, 2-3, I’m not going to get up in the middle of that to get 250 steps. However, I can certainly improve my average by getting up every hour when I’m home and working on my computer.

So what to do to get 250 steps? Walking around my block gets me about 600, so I decided to take hourly walk breaks. I’ve been reading that regular, short breaks improve productivity, so in theory, I’m getting healthier and more productive at the same time.

Does it work?

Well, my average is now 8-9 of 10 hours per day of 250 steps, so I’m making progress.

What about productivity? You know how they say the most productive people take time to plan? These short walls are turning ot to be fantastic opportunities to plan. I decide exactly what I’d like to accomplish in the next hour, get back from my walk, work on those items and then take my walk break to plan the next hour. I planned this blog post on one of my breaks.

I’m already pretty good at estimating how long it will take me to do a particular task, so my hourly estimates of what I can accomplish have been fairly accurate. Before I started my breaks, I was in the habit of working through my task list each day, and I was certainly productive, but I tended to lose steam around lunch time and have a hard time getting it back after lunch. Now I’m looking at each hour at a time. It’s less intimidating to decided what you’re going to do for the next hour instead of considering the entire day. Plus the short breaks are good for a quick recharge.

So far, I’m going to have to say it’s been a success. How about you? Do you take short breaks throughout the day? What kinds of breaks do you take, and do they make you more productive?

  • What a great idea! Sounds like a great way to accomplish things and get healthy. I need to see if my Garmin does this too.

    • Juli Monroe

      Let me know if it does. I’d be curious. The Apple Watch does something similar but I don’t know if other trackers do.

  • Using my breaks as time for exercise and planning sounds good. I was using them for snacks, reading, games, etc. That made the breaks refreshing, which improved productivity, but probably not as much as your system.