Taking breaks like a boss
Disclaimer: This approach is inspired by the Pomodoro Technique, which I don’t fully apply.
First I’m going to tell you a secret habit of mine that is good for body, mind and soul household. Then I’ll elaborate a bit.
I often work from home, mostly on the computer. In the morning I make a “to do” list with tasks in decreasing priority. I also use a “doing” list. More about that one below.
I open these tabs in my browser:
I start the “doing” list where I only write down the first task. I focus on that single task for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, I put an X next to the task, which indicates I’ve worked at it for 25 minutes. Then I take a short break – and the following is important – AWAY from the computer (A.K.A. hypnosis machine).
Depending on what feels right, I do just one of the following, for no longer than 5 minutes:
- dance like an idiot
- eat some fruit, drink some water or tea
- a full body workout guided by Sworkit
- lie down on the floor (yoga pose ‘dead man working’ :-))
- sit in a comfy chair not doing anything
- clean a toilet
- pick up dirty laundry from the bathroom
- fill or empty the washing machine, clothes dryer or dishwasher
- put stuff where it belongs
- fold some clean laundry
- feed the chickens
- water the veggie garden
The timer goes off again after 5 minutes (I set it quite loud to be able to hear it wherever I am) and it’s time to return to work.
Back at the desk, I put a dot next to the X on the “doing” list, indicating that I took the break. I write down the next task or continue with the one at hand.
I repeat this many times throughout the workday.
Usually the breaks feel welcome. But sometimes when I’m really in the middle of something – like writing this article – I just want to carry on. However, I have found that I’m always more content when I take the breaks consistently. I’ve been doing this for some months now and I’m still very happy with it.
Why I like it:
- my head feels lighter
- the day is more spacious
- I drink more water and eat more fruit
- the breaks are cues to pay more attention to my posture
- I catch myself quicker when I get distracted (by Facebook, Twitter, email …)
- away from the computer I often get fresh insights about work
- back at the desk I can quickly review priorities that may have changed because of new information
- it’s amazing what can be done around the house in those short breaks
- more exercise
- no more regrets because of never making it to the gym
- our home is less cluttered (you should see it in the morning when I come back after taking the kids to school)
Have you tried this or something similar? Let me know your experience in the comments.
Tip: add this habit on Lift. I’ve made a plan for it with over 30 suggestions for short breaks.