Today, 3Q’s work-life balance series tackles the issue of mini-breaks: why they work, even in the busiest time of the year.

Being in a fast-paced industry, it can be a challenge to make yourself take a break. I, like many colleagues, am guilty of spending lunchtime at my desk, churning out emails while simultaneously inhaling a burrito bowl. I would think, “Why would I allow myself to do nothing for 10 minutes? I could get so much done during that time!”

Turn back the clock to late November. With holiday shopping in full swing, this was our busiest time of the year, and it was also when I was introduced to a little app called HQ Trivia. For those who missed all the media hype, HQ Trivia is a live trivia game, held twice a day every day. The host (usually the beloved Scott Rogowsky) would ask a series of 12 questions. Participants would have 10 seconds starting from the time the question began to answer, and there was plenty of witty commentary in between questions. The game became a viral sensation, with hundreds of thousands of participants per game, including many 3Qers.

Soon enough, many of us in the office would gather around with our phones during trivia time every day and help each other answer. (It’s not cheating; it’s teamwork! And it was encouraged.) Many of us are highly competitive, and we had a blast playing, even when we would get hit with a “savage question.” (I’ll never forget the great octopuses vs. octopodes debate.) And for the first few days, I truly enjoyed this time, but then I started to feel a small sense of guilt. Like I was wasting time when I could have been doing something productive. Then I realized, I wasn’t necessarily wasting time. During those 10-ish minutes every afternoon, I was taking a break.

Even though many of us started taking these daily 10-minute breaks during our craziest time of the year, we had the most successful and productive holiday season I’ve ever experienced. Taking these 10 minutes to unwind actually caused us to stay cool and think more clearly, even under the pressure of frequent flash sales and higher ROAS targets.

But of course, most tech trends have a short life cycle, and soon enough, many of us stopped playing. Were we getting frustrated with the savage questions? Did we get fed up with the streaming lag? Were we worried that HQ Trivia was onto world domination? I’ll never know for sure. What I do know is that taking a short break every day will do your brain some good. Whether you get up to take a walk around the block, or take a few minutes to look at pictures of puppies, taking a few minutes to clear your head every day makes a huge difference.

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Karen Hays
Karen Hays joined 3Q Digital in the summer of 2016. She is an Illinois native; she grew up in the suburbs and now lives in Chicago. She graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2014 with a BS in Advertising, Minor in Business, and Public Relations Certificate. She has worked on accounts in a variety of industries from finance to ecommerce, specializing in Search Engine Marketing. Her interests include, but are not limited to, dogs, cycling classes, biking along Lake Michigan, yoga, and Netflix binges.