Never give the quarry time to rest. He’d learned that on his first day in the Watch. If you had to chase, then stay with it. Give the pursued time to stop and think and you’d go round a corner to find a sock full of sand coming the other way.
«Men at Arms» by Terry Pratchett
Well, the teaser about «the need for breaks, if only for a toilet break» might give the wrong impression. Of course you need to take a break to go to the toilet, well, unless you work in very specific professions. But I’m not talking about natural urges … never mind.
I’m talking about breaks to get ideas, to realize how to solve a problem, to notice when you are going in the wrong direction.
Personally, I can’t count how often I had ideas when walking to the toilet and back, or making another thermos flask of hot water. I’m not even talking about the longer walks to or from work, but those tiny two minute breaks. And it really pays to jot them down immediately, because you never know whether someone interruption (colleague, partner, eMail) or the activity triggers (seeing display and being reminded of what you have to urgently do) overwrites that fragile idea.
The surprising utility of these breaks makes me wonder whether having (almost) everything at the desk, so you can work for hours uninterrupted, is actually the best idea. Sure, you can get distracted when you leave the desk, but in many situations, even a short break is actually beneficial.
Just a thought.