I've been working from home a lot more often recently, and without the commute and normal hum of office activity and side-conversations, I've been having a hard time stepping away from the computer.
I'm confident that I'll be substantially more productive if I can break up my work in the right way, but I've been finding it difficult to build the right habits and reminders.
So, how do you break up your work throughout the day? How often do you take breaks? And what do you do during them?
Top comments (49)
I use my pomidoro timer to take breaks (25 minutes work and 5 minutes break). And I actually take breaks when the buzzer goes off.
I usually do the following
How do you deal with taking a break when you're deep in a problem? That was always my problem with pomodoro, I'd be deep in a problem and the timer would go off.
This is tricky because it depends on the personality type. I personally have no problem getting back to it after my break is over because 5 minutes is so short. If it were longer (like 10-15 minutes) I may have a lot more trouble with it.
Sometimes I find that when I do take the break, even when I am deep in a problem, the "fresh" start actually helps and I start hitting the ground running. My intent is always to get back to it after my break, and I am pretty good at it!
It's hard to tell if this is just who I am (personality) or if it's actually my mindset.
I will say though, even if you don't take the full break like I do...we could all benefit from taking a few breaths and remembering to drink water :D
Pomodoro technique is awesome, been using it since last year to work on my daily task.
The notifications for pomodoro apps, can help in reminding you to take a break when you have a earpiece.
Yeah, I have one on my desktop at work!
Something that helps me here is not to divert your attention on your breaks to anything that requires concentration e.g. striking up conversations with co-workers, thumbing through emails, social media etc. Doing something like a short walk or getting some water like Lindsey suggested helps your subconscious keep working at the problem while the working memory gets a break.
Changing up the time in pomodoro to 45 minutes of work and 15 minute breaks works for me. Adjusting it to your work style could help prevent untimely breaks when trying the conventional 25/5 split.
Yeah I've totally heard of this too! Whatever works best for your productivity 😃
pomodorohas never worked for me.
Thank you! I'm also going to give your Working Remotely post a fresh read later today 🙏🏽
10 things I've learned from working remotely
Lindsey Kopacz ・ 5 min read
Here's a tip: have some kids. I have two and breaks happen naturally, probably more often than I'd like.
But on a serious note, invent a routine where you need to go somewhere. Run some errands. For small breaks I prefer to go to the kitchen to make a tea. It takes about 10 minutes, so it's a good mini break. For a long break I do something around the house or go outside to get groceries, fix the bike or whatever.
I used to think it's really bad to break up the work day. Now I think the opposite. It's much better for me to work in two or three intervals throughout the day. I feel more productive to break up the computer stare time.
Wow this totally clicked with me. I just need to change my mindset of kids being a 'distraction' to kids being a 'break'. I'm gonna try to think about it that way! :)
I work in the basement so getting water/coffee means leaving the dungeon. Here's my list:
I'd also be hypocritical if I said I do these all the time, so I'll phrase it as these are things I strive to do when working from home.
Now that my calf is healed, I'm going to see about gym sessions at lunch as well.
I'm using a standing desk at home. I can only stand for so long. If my body starts to get tired from standing, I'd take this opportunity to
bum aroundrelax by sitting down for a bit. So it's similar to pomodoro but instead of fixed time, i depend on my leg's fatigueness.
I split the type of tasks into (1) Reading, and (2) Coding.
For every 25 minutes of active reading, I take 5 minutes of eye break, and drink a glass of water, get up and stretch.
For every 45 minutes of coding, I take 15 minutes of break which includes a drink of water, followed by a small walk.
In both scenarios, every alternate break, I would just take a 10 minute break to calm down and breathe.
I have a Fitbit which has an activity reminder if you don’t do enough steps each hour. It reminds me to stretch my legs and get some more tea or water. I try not to have too much coffee, a max of two per day.
+1 for Fitbit. Only problem is often when the reminder comes up I tell myself "just a couple more minutes" and then forget about it :P
I actually use 47/13 rule to take breaks throught the day. As the name suggests, I focusedly work for 47 mins and then take 13 mins of break. In breaktime I usually take walk or have coffee or try to solve someone else's problem or have a conversation with someone. I'm not yet perfected this technique, I'm still try to develope it.
My watch pings me when I have sat still for an hour. I get up and walk around for a minute or two, usually getting a glass of water.
I try to walk to have lunch as often as possible (I have a couple of places ten minutes away) to have a longer break in the middle of the day.
When in the office, I take a couple of coffee breaks (around 15 minutes) to chat with coworkers. When working from home, I often take the dog out for a short walk in the afternoon.
I initially misread this, thinking you have lunch as many times per day as possible. 😄
But I definitely agree about going for a walk at lunch time.
Lunch as many times per day as possible does sound awesome though.
Working from home, I lose track of time very easily with the constant silence. A timer does the trick for me. I use the 'Take A Break' chrome extension - simple yet very effective. Keeps reminding me every 15 minutes to take short breaks. These breaks are as simple as blinking my eyes, stretching my arms or staring outside the window :)
I work from time to time.
I tried various things like pomodoro timers, screen timeout software and other techniques.
What worked for me in the end is a combination of the following:
I take regular coffee breaks, usually once every couple of hours. It's a nice short walk to the coffee machine. If I'm reaaaaally stuck on a problem I'll go out and buy a coffee and walk around a bit. That usually helps clear my mind. especially if it's a nice cold winter day.
As a person who is pretty new to remote work, I can totally relate to this!
I'll typically take a big break in the middle of the day and do something active paired with a small lunch (I snack pretty frequently during the day, but keep my snacks downstairs, another trick to get me up and down a few times). The physical activity keeps my stress down and it's a nice change of pace. Also, I find if I don't move my body around enough, I get really sleepy toward the end of the day. A midday workout is often what I need to get that extra jolt of energy!
Another tip that I use for myself is to keep on a schedule. I'll take my lunch/gym break some time within the window of 12-2. I leave a little flexibility there depending on how much work I have going on, but this is generally when I like to take my extended daily break.
I take walks at times when focused work is going to be interrupted anyway. This is usually before or after morning standup, at lunch, and late afternoon when my kids get out of school.
I was listening to podcasts or audio books while walking but found that having no inputs was more beneficial. Leaving my phone at home also makes it easier to ignore slack during breaks.
I use a pomodoro app (this one is my favourite) that sets 25 minutes of work with 5 minute breaks. I also installed a pullup bar at my room door. Having it conveniently nearby makes it much easier to remember to get some exercise