From increased focus to boosting creativity, study after study shows that taking breaks when you’re working improves performance. So, if we all know it, why do we fall into the trap of pushing through without breaks, eating at our desks or skipping meals altogether?
If you’re working from home during the coronavirus outbreak, it can be easy to get caught up in your work and not take adequate breaks. Maybe you’re trying to get more done in less time, cramming a little extra work in, or the absence of colleagues makes you lose track of time. Either way, taking regular, brief diversions from your work makes you more productive overall. Try these tips to avoid the no-break work day.
Schedule breaks as you would a meeting
If you’re new to working from home, or your work days currently look different to what you’re used to, planning and scheduling your day is your new superpower. Spend a little time each morning or the night before allocating the time in your calendar to various tasks. Block out breaks for eating and exercise, the same way you would for conference calls and deadlines, to give them the priority they deserve.
Set up a break station
At work you may enjoy access to a tea room, garden or quiet space for your breaks. In this same vein, create a designated space at home that is inviting and uncluttered. Have a favourite book, newspaper or magazine to hand so you’re less tempted to scroll through your break time, pre-prepare snacks, a vase of flowers to admire or a pillow to rest your head.
Work in your yoga pants
…and your sneakers. Work in your sports gear so there’s no excuse for procrastination when the notification pops up to say it’s time for your run. Shut that laptop lid and off you go!
Take a virtual coffee break
Missing your work BFF? Use apps like Zoom or Google Hangouts to set up a daily virtual coffee break with a colleague or colleagues who are also working remotely. It will help you stay engaged with work, avoid feelings of isolation and disconnection, and stay in the loop with WFH gossip!
Don’t do it alone
Partner WFH too? Encourage each other to pause and refresh. Create a break friendly culture at home.
Create some family time
Family home too? If you’re lucky enough to have a partner taking care of the kids while you’re holed up in the study, treat your break times as a way to re-engage with your family. As difficult as your current situation may be, it also presents a rare opportunity to slow down and spend a little quality time with your kids when you would typically be in the office. Meet your family for a morning tea scoot around the block, midday shooting hoops or afternoon quiet and story time.
Think outside the box
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Shake up your usual break routine by inventing new ways to fit a little R&R into your day or tackling a small job around the house you’ve been struggling to get to. Enjoy some quiet time with a short guided meditation in the garden, get up and get moving during a phone call with a colleague, phone your grandma, sort a cupboard, or do some yoga stretches to reverse that computer hunch.
Written by the Circle In Team