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Work From Home Challenge Day 4: Reenergize With Breaks

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Welcome to Day 4 of the 5-day Work From Home Challenge. We’re nearly at the end of the challenge but if you just started today, no worries! You can still do the previous challenges:

Day 1 – Dress For Work
Day 2 – Your Daily Reset
Day 3 – Create Time And Space To Focus

… and now that you’re done with the previous three, it’s time to make sure you don’t get burnt out working from home.

The Burn-Out

“You’re so lucky you work from home! You have a lot of time to work since you don’t have to prepare and commute.”

That’s not true.

People think that just because you work from home, you have all the time in the world since you’re just at home. You can work anytime. That may be partially true but they forgot to mention that you can still get burnt out when you are working from home because you’re still working, thinking and actively doing things.

You still have to prepare for work and do a daily reset just like what we talked about during the 1st and 2nd day of our challenge.

Whether you are single or in a relationship, you also have other responsibilities outside of work. These responsibilities do not stop when you are working from home. We’re not (just) talking about picking up the groceries and paying bills. You have a responsibility to take care of yourself too (self-care).

At Asian Efficiency we teach the TEA Framework. When you master Time, Energy, and Attention you will be Asian Efficient. When you work from home, you have more time than those who have to commute. What about your energy and attention? After working from home for many years, I’ve discovered that managing your energy is even more important when you’re at home.

It’s All About Energy

When you have the time but not the energy to get things done, you are exhausted. Whether you work in an office or at home, that doesn’t differ. I remember Thanh’s story. One Sunday, he told himself that he will do his taxes. He blocked his entire Sunday just to do his taxes – he had all the time to it. But he didn’t end up getting it done. He lounged around and stayed in bed for a long time and just spent the entire day doing other things except for his taxes. When he was journaling that night, he realized that it wasn’t time that he lacked. He had a whole day for it. What he lacked was energy to do it.

It’s the same thing when you procrastinate. Even when you have made the time and have planned out on what you want to do, when you lack energy, you will procrastinate.

You deplete your energy in several ways:

  • lack of sleep or not getting quality sleep
  • the food you eat
  • inactivity (sedentary lifestyle)
  • dehydration
  • stress

A lot of the things mentioned above, YOU HAVE CONTROL over. But there is something else that you can do to ensure that you always have the energy to finish your tasks every single day.

Take a break.

Taking breaks is important for those working from home. Otherwise, you risk of burning yourself out and getting cabin fever. It’s what people describe as “going crazy” when they first start working from home. They’re not taking breaks!

Several studies prove just how important breaks are. According to a study by Tork, 90% claim that they feel more refreshed and ready to work after their lunch break. Another study of PNAS states that breaks can help prevent decision fatigue especially for roles where you need to make frequent decisions. Psychology Today’s research says that breaks increase creativity AND productivity.

Imagine as if you’re running. Can you run for 8 hours straight at the same pace as when you started and not feel tired at all?

When you drive a car, you can’t go on forever either. You would need to stop at one point to fill up your tank.

You are no different. You use your brain a lot when you are working. It will get tired and if you do not let it recover, you will be exhausted and feel burnt out.

When And How To Take A Break

I used to be very bad at taking breaks. I had to install a Pomodoro timer on my computer so that it will remind me to take a break. These days, I no longer need it, but if you struggle to remember to take breaks, it is a great solution.

Now that you know when to take a break, here’s how to use that break wisely. Scrolling through your Twitter feed is not a good example. You might end up feeling riled up because of something you’ve read. Facebook is another no-no. Stay clear from social media.

Instead, do some energizing activities. Stretch your muscles. Go for a short walk. Do some breathing exercises. Do 10 burpees or even jumping jacks. Sitting for several hours on end is bad for your heart’s health and may even lead to depression. When you move (like stretching), you help supply oxygen to your whole body.

My workspace is on the upper level of our house. When I need to move around, I go downstairs and pet all our dogs and force my love on our cat.

Exercise:

  • Take a look at your calendar for tomorrow
  • Put two 30-minute breaks (lunch is excluded) 

Let us know in the comments once you are done and what are some of the things you will do during your breaks.

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118 Comments

Posted by Kristin  | April 26, 2020 at 8:37AM | Reply

I miss my routine of getting outside to go to/from work and meetings. So I have been trying to take one slightly longer break (30-45 min) to get outside and go for a walk and listen to a podcast. When weather is bad, I tend to not take breaks, which isn’t good!

Posted by Rodolfo Zamora  | April 25, 2020 at 9:04PM | Reply

I love to do brakes, my pomodoros are 50 – 10. And I enjoy those 10 mins brakes every hour. I’m also fine if some brakes get longer, because I know what’s on my plate for the day.

Posted by Liz  | April 25, 2020 at 6:34PM | Reply

I prefer to take short breaks – 5 or 10 minutes. I think if I took a 30-minute break, I’d never get anything done! My short breaks – pomodoro style – give me a chance to transition from one thing to another.

Posted by William Carey Bayot  | April 25, 2020 at 6:24AM | Reply

Il go down to the ground floor to get my coffee and snacks or a chocolate to brighten up my mood and something to look forward to when focusing on a dreaded task

Posted by Oren  | April 24, 2020 at 8:58PM | Reply

Because I’m working from home I have some leniency with my schedule. I’ve scheduled a break for myself after lunch and after my afternoon meeting. It means I have to stay signed on later, but it lets me work at a better pace. It’s also allowed me to go for a short bike ride during my lunch time if I make sure to eat quickly.

Posted by Wilco  | April 24, 2020 at 5:13PM | Reply

This will be a real challenge. Break time is for my company outside of work time. So when I take another 2 x 30 minute breaks my ‘work day will be extended with another hour. This is something I need to discuss with my team leader. Anyway: something to think about….

Posted by Erin Dummer  | April 24, 2020 at 4:31PM | Reply

Feeling pretty good about blocking out time on my calendar for deep work and now breaks.

Posted by Joost  | April 24, 2020 at 1:39PM | Reply

Done!

Posted by Kristen  | April 24, 2020 at 12:25PM | Reply

I use the Forest app, so I’m going to re-commit to using that with more consistency. I also want to honor my breaks at least by turning off my camera when I can and take a stretch break at least rather than just completely forgoing any break because then it leads to me not taking a break for hours. I also calendared three exercise blocks and I am looking forward to keeping them!

Posted by Eric Sinclair  | April 24, 2020 at 12:06PM | Reply

I have been putting 30m breaks in – step away from keyboard, meet with the cats, read an article in LRB or NYRB.

Posted by Beth  | April 24, 2020 at 11:44AM | Reply

I’m a day late getting this posted, but at least I have a plan in place now. My husband and I are going to schedule our breaks as close together as possible so we can take advantage of motivating one another. Our first break will be around 10 am to walk around the block, and our second break will be used to do a 30-minute exercise video. We’ll use our lunch break to eat and get into exercise clothes (unless we have a virtual meeting, then that will wait). Our second break will come around 2 pm when we can exercise and still have time to finish up anything left on our list and CTN before the next day. Our evening family CTN is going really well, so I would highly recommend that to families as it makes the burden smaller and the next day significantly smoother!

Posted by Rachel  | April 24, 2020 at 10:55AM | Reply

I scheduled two 30 minute breaks; the first at 11:00 am and the second at 3:00 pm. I used the first break to do a few household chores – washing dishes, dusting and folding up the dry washing and making a grocery shopping list. The second break was used doing a few gardening jobs, watering the plants in pots and enjoying the sunny afternoon.

Posted by Kathleen Malone-Bogusky  | April 24, 2020 at 10:25AM | Reply

The first 30 minute break is coming habitual around 11 to 11:30 for exercise. I start work at 8:15 am so could 3 hour stop point where I feel my brain tiring. The second I tend to forget or I get wrapped up in work but I am going to try a 3:15 one for usually around that 3ish period I get sluggish. Since raining today, I may try an evening yoga stretch. I love to read but think that would be more brain use so exercise likely better normally. Today I end work early though so if I end up baking afterwards, the fiction book will be what I do for my break.

Posted by M  | April 24, 2020 at 10:01AM | Reply

This was tough again. But TEA has actually made me remember the basics so I scheduled 2 30 min blocks for rest and did one with exercise and the other to play withy son. Now it’s about consistency with me as I get good starting something but difficult to be consistent.
This will have to be modified according to work projects I have. Let’s see what happens

Posted by Shaun Barlow  | April 24, 2020 at 8:38AM | Reply

I’ve booked a breaks at 10:00 and 15:00
Break time at home is currently spdnt in playing with the kids or chatting to my spouse, while enjoying a hot beverage (typicaly coffee)

Posted by Eddie  | April 24, 2020 at 6:26AM | Reply

When working from home I put a 45 min break into my work calendar around mid-day. The rule is “you can move it, but you can’t delete it”. I use the time to go for a circular walk. It gets me out of the house, into the fresh air and away from my desk so I can think. I might listen to a podcast, a radio drama or just let my thoughts wander. Invariably, I come back refreshed and much more productive. Some days work gets in the way and I don’t go but now it’s become a habit I do it most days.

Posted by Virginie  | April 24, 2020 at 3:52AM | Reply

I put my first break at 10:30am to do a light workout. My second break will be mid-afternoon at 4pm and I will read a fiction book.

Posted by Jennifer  | April 24, 2020 at 2:39AM | Reply

I need to remind myself not to just hit repeat when my 45-minute timer goes off. I’d like to get up for at least 10 minutes to stretch. A quick exercise session would be better than checking my Twitter feed.

Posted by Markus  | April 24, 2020 at 2:26AM | Reply

This is something I struggle with while working from home. Definitely will schedule breaks. Maybe not 30 min but lets say 15 min. Thanks for the inspiration.

Posted by Kimi  | April 24, 2020 at 12:05AM | Reply

What I need to do is to redefine my definition of a break. My tendency is to fit so many things into my day that a break from work only means that I take a break from the current task and turn my attention to another task. It takes a good deal of effort for me to remember to take short breaks from current tasks and return to them after a short time. Thank you for the reminder!

Posted by Lori  | April 24, 2020 at 12:03AM | Reply

I’m not good at taking breaks, even thought I know I need them. I end up with tense shoulders, a headache, etc.

Tomorrow I will schedule 2 15-min breaks. I’ll go and take the dog for a walk around the block and have a glass of water.

Posted by Ian  | April 23, 2020 at 11:55PM | Reply

Love this idea, and I definitely notice I get shoulder headaches and tightness from sitting too long. I’m going to take a break to stretch and meditate.

Posted by Lis  | April 23, 2020 at 11:27PM | Reply

Done!

Posted by Audrey Witko  | April 23, 2020 at 10:50PM | Reply

I set an alarm hourly in order to take a break. Even if it is just to recenter and consciously breathe. Mostly I move and stretch for 5-10 minutes each time. It reenergizes me and if I am stressed, it allows me to rebalance myself.

Posted by Troy Knight  | April 23, 2020 at 10:46PM | Reply

I have found it very difficult to break away from work now that it is within my home. Creating times for breaks is an excellent idea, and one that I’ll be incorporating. Specifically, I look to spend some time with meditation, reading, and gardening when stepping away from work tasks.

Posted by Ray  | April 23, 2020 at 10:40PM | Reply

Good tip…although I have set my smartwatch to remind me to move around every hour, it’s easy to ignore. With your tip to schedule breaks into the calendar, I get a hard reminder and it also blocks off time in my calendar so that coworkers can see my busy status for those blocks the help prevent them from contacting me or scheduling meetings during those times. I will use that time to do some stairs and maybe a quick burst on the elliptical machine to get the blood flowing.

Posted by Karthik Vadambacheri Manian  | April 23, 2020 at 10:29PM | Reply

Taking good break is a very important but often overlooked point. Thanks for bringing this out again. I have blocked two 30 minutes. One is for hearing inspiring lectures in the morning break and reading couple of pages from scriptures in the late afternoon break.

Posted by David Knickmeyer  | April 23, 2020 at 10:18PM | Reply

tough one. But we’ll give it a try. Think I’ll schedule a chat with a coworker that I used to go to lunch with back when we were allowed to do that. Of course, most of our conversations were about sports…

Posted by Seth  | April 23, 2020 at 10:06PM | Reply

Good recommendation. During the workday, I get into such a zone sometimes that I’ll keep working for 2-3 hours before realizing it. Building in a 30-minute break will be helpful. Currently, I’m lucky to work 20 minutes without interruption while working from home with the family in the house.

Posted by Stephanie  | April 23, 2020 at 10:05PM | Reply

I think this will be super helpful. I have gotten in the habit of taking a lot of micro breaks (like a quick trip to the kitchen for a snack), and I think I take more breaks than I realize that don’t feel like breaks (like reading an article between meetings), and I suspect these are messing with my productivity more than I realize. Structuring breaks and being conscious of break/non-break time should make a big difference, and I am going to spend a lot of them weeding and tidying up the garden, which always clears my head.

Posted by Ian  | April 23, 2020 at 9:35PM | Reply

I used my pomodoro to schedule longer breaks to read and watch my favorite shows. It gave me a mental break and helped me feel refreshed when I got back to work.

Posted by Jason  | April 23, 2020 at 9:23PM | Reply

I’ve used the Pomodoro technique in the past to schedule breaks during the day, but I never used it for every long because I was always concerned that if I stopped while I was on a roll I’d never really get back to it again. But since I’m doing this challenge, I decided to try it again. It worked pretty good today. I stopped when it said to, and much to my amazement, I got back to it when it said the break was over. I actually got more accomplished today than usual. Pretty great tool! Thanks!

Posted by Dana Carrier  | April 23, 2020 at 8:37PM | Reply

Since so much of my work involves answering questions, solving problems and finding answers, that carving out two 30-minute hunks of time just doesn’t work for me. BUT… I did download a pomodoro timer and used for several focus blocks today. I totally forgot to make my afternoon caffeine drink. Didn’t really need it. So, that’s kind of awesome. I also took an hour for lunch, without answering any emails. Working from home keeps those lunch burglars away… “I hate to interrupt you during your lunch, but…” They don’t know where I live. Woot!

Posted by Bryan Thompson  | April 23, 2020 at 8:19PM | Reply

Love the Pomodoro technique and have been using a great wee app on my Mac called Vitamin-R 3 that helps keep me on track with breaks and records stats about me and the best working focus moments of my average day!

Two 30-minute breaks – one to take a walk out onto the patio to sit in the “egg” chair there and get some Vitamin D sunshine and two to do the dishes for the family after first Pomodoro after lunch.

Posted by Anthony A.  | April 23, 2020 at 8:18PM | Reply

Ooh, this is a hard one. I have a bad habit of ignoring the need to take breaks from my computer.

I will set an alarm to take a 30 min walk at 1000 and at 1400.

Posted by Kristie Ondracek  | April 23, 2020 at 8:06PM | Reply

Since Monday, I have been using a timer to take 5 minute breaks. Then there is the 20 minute break after 3-25 minute sessions. It is hard but when it goes off, I get up, stretch, get another glass of water and truly take a break for the 5 minutes. During lunch hour, I physically get away from the computer and sit outside with the dogs. I can tell it is making difference on work productivity and attitude. While lunch is excluded, this is truly a change for me as I would work through lunch.

Posted by Karen  | April 23, 2020 at 7:46PM | Reply

Okay! This is going to require discipline to block off that time and not do back-to-back meetings. But I know it pays off. I will get back to the Pomodoros too!

Posted by Giacomo Pasini  | April 23, 2020 at 7:26PM | Reply

I had already longtime set up in my life some pauses even if I still struggle to keep consistent with the pomodoro and especially respecting the tomato 🍅 (Even if having the AE mug should help me). I have habits I’m working on that aren’t Work or I’m accountable for that I plan and use every day to wind down a bit. I have decide to study some classical pieces arranged for guitar that also push me to spend more time on quality music and less on scrolling social media feeds. I also noticed that this also works very well as a trigger for combined habits that are becoming finally rituals in my daily life.

Posted by Christine  | April 23, 2020 at 7:25PM | Reply

I drift toward short changing my breaks from time to time and I always pay for it with reduced focus and productivity. I added my breaks back as hard edges on my calendar today and felt invigorated after my morning walk around the block.

Posted by Nancy Carney  | April 23, 2020 at 7:19PM | Reply

Two thirty minute breaks feels almost scandalous! I made a fresh pot of coffee and plate of homemade out meal cookies to enjoy with my son who’s finishing his Zoomniversity degree from home.

Posted by Cathy  | April 23, 2020 at 7:19PM | Reply

2 breaks = gardening + walking my dog! Thanks for all the tips!

Posted by Clare  | April 23, 2020 at 7:04PM | Reply

Since in real life I’m actually a hobbit, taking breaks is no problem! At 11 am: “Elevenses” and at 4:30: tea break!

Done!

Posted by Lee Z  | April 23, 2020 at 6:45PM | Reply

Yes, got it scheduled on my calendar. And I’ve reinvigorated my Pomodoro timer app, to ensure both focus as well as break time.

Posted by Chanel Heermann  | April 23, 2020 at 6:38PM | Reply

I’m in health care so I don’t have the option to schedule 30″ breaks tomorrow – I’d need a month (or more) notice to block out time since patients are already scheduled. What I can do is make a point of taking at least 30″ break at lunch, instead of working at my desk while I eat (or don’t). And when I do get natural breaks tomorrow, I’ll definitely go walk around the house and try to get a bit of fresh air in the backyard. :)

Posted by Barb  | April 23, 2020 at 6:18PM | Reply

I’ve got this one!
It’s all on my whiteboard. Work 50 min, take a 10 min break. Repeat. Repeat but take a 20 min break after the third hour. Work 50 min/10 min break. Work 50 min/40 min lunch break. Then back for two more 50/10 and I am done for the day. Work computer off. Tidy up. Go for a walk. Breathe. I love it!

Posted by Jon Nott  | April 23, 2020 at 5:59PM | Reply

Usually I’m pretty good at taking breaks, but they aren’t in my calendar and so they’re the first thing to go if things get busy. I’ve put in a morning coffee break at 11 and an afternoon tea break at 3:30. I’ll use that time to do some (non-work) reading.

Posted by Bob Schuetz  | April 23, 2020 at 5:26PM | Reply

I rely on the “Stand Timer” on my Apple Watch to remind me to get out of my chair for a few minutes every hour – but will add in the extra breaks as well!

Posted by Karin  | April 23, 2020 at 5:04PM | Reply

You hit it spot on. I remember one day I had last week with almost no breaks. That was not very produktive in the end and was draining my energy.
I’ve put 2 longer breaks in for tomorrow for a happier and better me :)

Posted by Shay  | April 23, 2020 at 4:59PM | Reply

I like to walk downstairs and see what everyone is getting into, refill my water and coffee. Sometimes I like to do some cleaning or organizing in an area of my home. I’d like to try walking around the block as it starts to get a little warmer here. Blocking 30 min will be different that the 15 limit I typically allow.

Posted by patricia  | April 23, 2020 at 4:26PM | Reply

I use pomodoro as I know I don’t take enough breaks, but I have planned two for tomorrow: at 10 am I will go shopping basic groceries (about 30 – 40 minutes) and at 14:00 I will water plants

Posted by Nick  | April 23, 2020 at 4:19PM | Reply

Blocked out half an hour at 10:30, and another half an hour at 2:30, during those times I’ll stretch, take a walk, and play with my son

Posted by Steve Woodfield  | April 23, 2020 at 3:44PM | Reply

Booked two breaks for tomorrow afternoon. One for meditation – which I’ve neglected during lockdown, and another for a speedy walk minus the kids.

Posted by Katie  | April 23, 2020 at 3:42PM | Reply

This one is mentally challenging for me. I struggle with that line between too short of a break and too long where it’s hard for me to get back into it, but I’ve added breaks at 10.30am and 3pm – so we will se how it goes!

Posted by Dave Jordan  | April 23, 2020 at 3:22PM | Reply

2×30-minute breaks is a bit different than what I’ve been doing, but I’ve been doing two things better while working at home than I do at the office, plus one new things.
Two things better: Number one, I am putting buffers between calls instead of scheduling them back-to-back. So these are not exactly 30-minute “breaks” but they make for a much less hectic and draining day than my “meeting marathon” days at the office. Number two, I am being more disciplined about using the Pomodoro Technique to work through tasks during my “unstructured” time. Since I turned my “play room” into my “home office”, I have a lot of good/fun options for my 5-minute Pomodoro breaks that I don’t have at the office (like picking up a guitar for a few strums).
One new thing: blocking out lunch time to each lunch with my kids every day, which of course doesn’t happen when I’m physically going in to the office.
So in the end, I think that work-from-home/quarantine is helping me create new/better break-taking habits that I hope to sustain when I go back to “normal” office-based work.

Posted by Sydney  | April 23, 2020 at 3:18PM | Reply

Yess I definitely relate to this one! I already have scheduled breaks, but my plan for today is 1 PM and 4:30 PM; I’ll walk two miles during one of my breaks and play some music and relax for the other one.

Posted by Robert  | April 23, 2020 at 2:36PM | Reply

Two 30 minute breaks? – DONE…
I’ve also used the pomodoro option in breaking large tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces to increase my productivity.

Posted by Sam  | April 23, 2020 at 2:35PM | Reply

Taking breaks is actually the easiest for me. I learned long ago that too much “butt in chair” time does not a happy Sam make. It’s actually the main reason I changed careers.
I actually have a picture of pre- Mr. Olympia Arnold posted up at my desk. It’s a simultaneous reminder to get to work as well as get off my butt.

But yeah, on my breaks I’ll get up, walk around the house, play with my kids, clean a bit. Always something active.

Posted by Anna Staevska  | April 23, 2020 at 2:33PM | Reply

I have 2 breaks during the day, the first one is at 11 and the second one is at 15h. At 11h me and the kids have a PE lesson (exercises) – 10 min on the cycling machine, 10 min rowing, 50 burpies and 200 skips. At 15h I have a coffee in the garden and chat with my kids. I have a reminder set on my laptop but I really don’t need that as both of my boys remind me of the time for rest by rushing downstairs and shouting PE time 😃 It has been amazing to just switch off me from my work and the boys from their lessons.

Posted by Paul  | April 23, 2020 at 2:22PM | Reply

I’ve put in a 30 minute recurring appointment – “Step away from the computer!” – for 10:30 and 14:30, marked in red! ;)

It will be about a week before those breaks actually happen at 10:30 and 14:30 – I’ve had to pull them and push them into empty spaces until my calendar frees up a little. But afterwards at least the polite people will schedule their meeting requests around the blocked out time.

Full disclosure: I’ll probably use at least some of the time to chat on the phone, but I will “Step away from the computer!” :D

Posted by Joshua Tench  | April 23, 2020 at 2:16PM | Reply

I noticed how unproductive and flat I was at the end of last year. I made it my New Years resolution to improve in this space and made huge gains by cycling to work, going for short walks, getting a stand up desk and a bunch of others things.
Since working from home I can see all this slipping with increased pressures on deadlines and How easy it can be to slip into the bad old habits.

Today I’m up early to limit distractions and ultimately spread my day out so I can take more breaks with family.

Posted by Noah  | April 23, 2020 at 2:04PM | Reply

This one will be a bit more challenging for me, as I have back to back classes until noon with maybe 15 minutes between each class if I am lucky. I think I can squeeze in a 5-10 minute break around 10:30 am each day. It will be easier to get a 30-minute block later in the day, so I will set one for 2:30 pm. I already use my in-between class time to get up and move, but I can always schedule my pushup challenge time for a block in between class too.

Posted by Beth K  | April 23, 2020 at 1:40PM | Reply

This is a very good step in keeping my attention throughout the day. I use the Pomodoro Technique and it works! Short bursts of focus and a small break help me get things done each day. I start my day with a 2 mile walk with my dog then meditate/yoga and then work. I will sometimes take walks with my dog while on calls too. Thanks for the reminder!!

Posted by Dan  | April 23, 2020 at 1:20PM | Reply

Now, this is something I can get on board with! I usually take 5-10 minute breaks every hour at the office to stretch my legs. I walk around the building or walk around a small section of campus depending on the weather, grab a drink of water and use the restroom if needed. I’ll use my first scheduled break at home to get some activity by walking around the larger block, and my second break to get set up for home projects after work. I’m installing some flooring, so it will be a perfect time to lift additional floor boxes into place and grab the necessary tools. If I don’t feel like doing that, I can always go pull some weeds or anything else that gets me outside. I’m scheduling a mid-morning break around 10, after my first focused block of time, and a second one later in the afternoon an hour or two after lunch. I’ll play the second one by ear, with an early reminder that I’ll likely snooze depending on how things are going.

Posted by Lisa Dunahoo  | April 23, 2020 at 1:11PM | Reply

I drink a lot of water, so I get up frequently to refill my water bottle. To take more intentional breaks I will take 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon to play with my dogs outside and also get some much needed vitamin D (if it ever stops raining). :)

Posted by Mark Hughes  | April 23, 2020 at 1:10PM | Reply

I’m in – a break at noon to watch a little tv with my wife and then a long walk at 5:30 PM.

Posted by Jennifer Willis-Rivera  | April 23, 2020 at 1:02PM | Reply

Done!!! Now I need to do that for all of next week too. A big project is due on Monday, so I’m really fitting a lot of this in starting on Tuesday! Schedule it now because the time won’t magically appear later.

Posted by Donald McMichael  | April 23, 2020 at 1:01PM | Reply

Done. For the two breaks I will 1) walk (outside or on a treadmill) and 2) stand in the sun while doing some stretches.

Posted by Daniel  | April 23, 2020 at 12:52PM | Reply

Done. I’ll do some hip movements and stretches (to improve mobility)

Posted by Harriett  | April 23, 2020 at 12:51PM | Reply

I’m breaking at 11:30 and 4:00. Instead of my random too frequent breaks or just plowing through!🥰

Posted by Sathia  | April 23, 2020 at 12:39PM | Reply

We’re only allowed 15 minute breaks (excluding lunch) so I’ll have to stick with that. I’ve entered them into my calendar which is something I’ve never done before so we’ll see how it works out. I have to take the breaks to check on my little humans but never at consistent times. We go outside for brisk walks or just have a snack and chit chat. I definitely look forward to these breaks and feel refreshed afterwards especially if I have a mind block.

Posted by Tammie  | April 23, 2020 at 12:37PM | Reply

Done. Getting out for a walk at that mid afternoon slump is really helpful.

Posted by Theresa  | April 23, 2020 at 12:29PM | Reply

I’m already booked in for a yoga class at 9am so will count that as one of my energising breaks. I’ve also booked in a walk with my husband late afternoon so we get out of the house together briefly.

Posted by Pamela Fitch  | April 23, 2020 at 12:26PM | Reply

I’m not going to lie. The idea of TWO 30-minute breaks is a little intimidating …….and exhilarating. This will be tough BUT I am going to try it. It’s on the schedule.

Posted by Bill  | April 23, 2020 at 12:12PM | Reply

I’ve made some new habits since starting to work from home full-time. I am by nature and early morning person, so I get up early and put a couple of hours of work in before 730 or 8 o’clock. At that point I get up and go for a run. I can usually keep my calendar clear until about 930 most days, so this allows me to get a good run in and get cleaned up and ready for work and be back at my desk by 930. I need to create a better habit during the afternoon, when my energy starts to drop and I have a hard time focusing.I added 30 minutes on the calendar for tomorrow afternoon in addition to my normal run.

Posted by Sander  | April 23, 2020 at 12:07PM | Reply

Done. Planned to sit outside in the sun, and to join in playing with the kids.

Posted by Alice  | April 23, 2020 at 12:07PM | Reply

Oh, this is a tough one for me. I often am in front of my computer for hours, particularly now that the rest of the world has finally discovered Zoom. I’ve been joking that I’m on the Zoom diet–no time to eat! Today is a particularly packed schedule, so breaks are definitely something I need to plan. Tomorrow it will be better!

Posted by Mark Barton  | April 23, 2020 at 12:04PM | Reply

Added two breaks on the calendar, but I’m usually good stepping away and walking outside to get some fresh air during the day.

Posted by Diana  | April 23, 2020 at 11:56AM | Reply

As many others have expressed, I too find this one is the most challenging so far. For me it is because I’ve slowly become accustomed to a more sedentary lifestyle over the past 20 years in my current role at work and at home as my family dynamics changed.
Earlier this year, I started making changes in how I spend my personal time to increase my mobility and improve my health.
Now that my office has moved home, it is time to incorporate that into my working hours too.
I like to dance and it is something that always makes me happy and can be done in any part of home or outside. I can definitely do that a few times a day. I like the idea of four 15 minute breaks to get moving and it works for me between online meetings. I have put these on my outlook calendar in orange so that I notice them.
Hydration is also something I don’t usually pay enough attention to, so have put a glass on my desk to fill each time I get up.

Posted by Lynda  | April 23, 2020 at 11:55AM | Reply

My condo overlooks a beautiful park with a big area fenced for dogs, so when the weather is nice I go on my balcony and do some yoga and watch the dogs running and playing. If it’s too cold/rainy I listen to classical music in another room, or pop down to the cafe for a snack and some human contact.

Posted by Jim Smith  | April 23, 2020 at 11:48AM | Reply

I’m fortunate that I have a dog who forces me to take breaks.

Posted by Warren  | April 23, 2020 at 11:40AM | Reply

Done! Its very odd feeling though. Taking breaks, normally just work through entire day with occasional dog walking.

Posted by Peter  | April 23, 2020 at 11:35AM | Reply

As I mentioned yesterday my schedule is just a little different from the one I had before the “lockdown”. Time Blocks are defined and so I just go with that flow.
The brakes I take are planned in accordance with my son’s breaks during his schoolwork and we spend this time to do fun things.
And after completing our blocks we have a see of time together to do the things we want to do together. And if he decides to play an online game with friends I do some extra household chores or dig in the the book I am reading. Thanks to this pandemic my list of read books for 2020 with skyrocket compared with other years.

Posted by Zaf Syrras  | April 23, 2020 at 11:15AM | Reply

I will read my book

Posted by David  | April 23, 2020 at 11:14AM | Reply

So I have been taking a 30 minute walk for my lunch break everyday. I also just added a 10 minute break for my morning and afternoon to do some quick stretches.

Posted by Nuntiya  | April 23, 2020 at 11:02AM | Reply

Since the weather has been nice this week, I have been taking my lunch outside. I will set aside a couple more blocks (one in the morning, and one in the afternoon) to go outside, take a short walk, play with my dog, do small things in the yard, etc. Being outside is my stress reliever. :)

Posted by Misti  | April 23, 2020 at 11:02AM | Reply

I have installed the focus me timer on my computer to remind me to take breaks. I am going to do 25 mins of focus time and 5 minutes of break time and see how that works. I think breaks really do help restore some energy and focus. I am also going to take a break at lunch and not eat at my desk while I am still working.

Posted by Wesley  | April 23, 2020 at 10:47AM | Reply

I’ve added 2 breaks a day to my calendar. I will be trying out different things to do during the breaks. Setting these up has also lead to me re-designing my google calendar system.

Posted by Kat  | April 23, 2020 at 10:40AM | Reply

I have a bad habit of oversleeping, so I wake up late, run to my computer and start work immediately to try to make up for the time I lost. And all day I think “I don’t have time to take a break, I need to make up for the time I lost”, so I don’t even take a lunch break. This happens every single day. (and changing my work hours isn’t an option).
I suppose I can take small breaks by doing a few chores (washing dishes, laundry, tidying up)… it isn’t something I really look forward to, but it’ll get me out of my office chair and moving around a bit.
I don’t feel comfortable with taking 30-minute breaks, but I will try to take 15-minute ones twice every day.

Posted by Elisa  | April 23, 2020 at 10:40AM | Reply

I can’t in good conscience take two 30 minute breaks during the day, as a lot of people have said I would have to extend my day further into the evening if I did, but I think I can squeeze in two 15 minute breaks during the morning and afternoon when I find myself the most antsy.

I’ve been in my full time office job a year and a half or so now and I find trying to sit for 8 hours a day every day excruciating. I get up and move around at least every hour because I cannot sit that long.

After reading this post I think I will set timers and be more purposeful in my moving around during my mini breaks and especially during my designated breaks, which I have labeled Body Breaks in my calendar.

I have to say I’m glad to see the promotion of breaks! I find myself feeling guilty when I walk away too long, but if I force myself to stay at my computer I find I grow completely mentally listless.

Posted by William Moon  | April 23, 2020 at 10:20AM | Reply

Since the kids are home all day, I schedule a 90 minute lunch block in my calendar to take a walk and have lunch. I don’t use all 90 minutes but I have the flexibility to use all 90 if my partner needs a break or lunch or I need a longer walk.

I don’t schedule them in the calendar but every 90 minutes, I get up and get a drink or a snack upstairs and just veg out for about 15 minutes and then roll up my sleeves and get back to it.

Posted by Monika  | April 23, 2020 at 10:16AM | Reply

We created a walking path in the backyard that has been good for me to take breaks in

Posted by Cassandra  | April 23, 2020 at 10:07AM | Reply

I have already implemented 2 fifteen minute walks in my work day, and I find that I am more productive when I sit at my computer after these walks. I have a big yard that I walk around in “laps” and it gets my blood pumping and gives me a good old shot of Vitamin D. I don’t feel as though I could take a whole 30 minutes twice a day and not have to work longer in the evening, but I will put my walks on my calendar so that I can be sure I get up and take them and not be tempted to work through them.

Posted by Fernando  | April 23, 2020 at 10:03AM | Reply

This is my kryptonite- need to be more disciplined to take breaks. Scheduled my breaks in my calendar, done.

Posted by Gloria-Jean Brown  | April 23, 2020 at 9:50AM | Reply

I do this now as a reward for completing an important task. Task done- time for me. Coloring in my coloring book. Jigsaw puzzle – Find 3 pieces. A logic puzzle. Of course, I walked to the kitchen for a glass of water. Three times a week, I walk down 12 steps to my lower deck and watch the fish and turtles and get real vitamin D!! Then, back to work, refreshed.

Posted by Sharon R  | April 23, 2020 at 9:48AM | Reply

The other days have been easy for me since I do them anyway. This is a challenge for me. I used to have a never ending job and can sit for hours deeply focused (they replaced me with one full position and farmed out 1/4 to 1/3 of my job split between two other positions). Now I have an 8 hour job and find that I often sit deeply focused for 2 to 4 hours at a stretch.

30 minutes isn’t realistic for me. I will take a break 10 minutes out of every hour. During this time I will get up from my desk, stretch, walk around, visit hubs and pets, if sunny go out on the porch, basically, get up and move.

Posted by JL  | April 23, 2020 at 9:42AM | Reply

I sometimes use a pomodoro timer on my iPhone when working on certain projects, just to remember to take some breaks. But doing some exercices at home in a Parossoan flat when confined inside is a bit tricky… just doing some little stretching… I’d like to go for a looooooonnnng walk outside!

Posted by Toby  | April 23, 2020 at 9:40AM | Reply

I have scheduled one break in the morning and one in the afternoon. I usually use a pomodoro timer and take 5 minute breaks for every 25 minutes. After my 4th set I usually take a 15 minute break. For the next while I will up that to 30 minutes instead and see if I notice any difference. I may go for a walk during that time.

Posted by Dean Johnson  | April 23, 2020 at 9:38AM | Reply

I’m going to spend my day breaking up my butt-in-chair work with other more active work, like a small grocery run and grabbing lunch from Panera, both of which I have been meaning to do for days. I started today with great energy, after a good night of sleep, so I want to “force multiply” that energy by using the bestowed energy right. Also, i’m gonna nail my exercise goals for the day, rather than putting them off until it is too late. Might take the dog for a walk as well, weather permitting.

Posted by Jasper Jamir  | April 23, 2020 at 9:28AM | Reply

This is strikes me the most. I usually blame myself for not getting things done after an 8 hour work, I though I am only not organized. But it was due to lack of energy!!

I promise to myself that I wont work overtime unless I have taken a good rest in between!!

Posted by Judy  | April 23, 2020 at 9:23AM | Reply

I will commit to using timers. I will work for 50 minutes, then take a 10 minute break to get out of my chair, stretch, pet the dog, put the dishes in the dishwasher or clothes in the washer, etc. Will only break for 10 minutes then will get back to work.

Posted by Paul  | April 23, 2020 at 9:20AM | Reply

30 minutes is too long of a break for me, I prefer to take lots of shorter breaks, 5-10 minutes or maybe 15 if I’ve worked for an hour straight. I use a (windows) reminder app called Workrave to let me know when I’ve been at the computer too long sine I don’t have any organic breaks to head to the water cooler anymore!

Posted by Deanne  | April 23, 2020 at 9:16AM | Reply

Getting in 2 30 minute breaks feels like a challenge. Most days I eat my lunch while working. I’m assigned to a government emergency response team on COVID, and the days are non-stop and have been for weeks, including the weekends. I have found that having a ritual at the end of the day to shut down my workspace helps to signal my end of shift (even though I get calls and texts during the evening to address things). I have been taking advantage of conference calls where I just have to listen by doing some break activity while I listen. I know – that’s not a true break. Perhaps the trick is to just schedule those breaks and see how things go. Not every “emergency” call I get is really an emergency (some are). But right now I’m expected to respond immediately when certain government officials call me.

Posted by John Sepples  | April 23, 2020 at 9:04AM | Reply

Is that young Than in the photo at the beginning of this article?

Thirty minutes seems like a long break. I have to track my time for my job. That means my workday would essentially become an hour longer. However, I do go offline for lunch and take a 20-40 minute walk. I will institute the Pomodoro technique during work time.

Posted by Aneesh  | April 23, 2020 at 8:56AM | Reply

Done. Added a lunch and a tea break :)

Posted by Duane  | April 23, 2020 at 8:51AM | Reply

Adding 30 minute blocks for getting up and moving around. 9:00 & 3:00. The longer I’m working from home, the less I find myself leaving my office space.

Posted by Abran Gonzalez  | April 23, 2020 at 8:50AM | Reply

I will work out or be outside and do some yard work. I have lots of small yard projects that need to get done this time of year.

Posted by Kim Louise Soleng  | April 23, 2020 at 8:45AM | Reply

Two 30 mins break might be a stretch. I’d rather finish and log off earlier that stretching my working day by an hour.. Although breaks are important. I will schedule a few shorter breaks.
What I am not good at though is not using those breaks for twitter or FB..

Posted by Jé  | April 23, 2020 at 8:38AM | Reply

Funny, I used to do this, but then I stopped for no reason… I will do 30 minutes of walking and 30 minutes of yoga.

Posted by Skip  | April 23, 2020 at 8:30AM | Reply

Borrowing Harold’s idea and will take 2 short walks with the dog and water the plants instead of going on to social media or news ! I use Pomodoro but my problem is letting the 5 or 10 minutes stretch out when I go down the rabbit hole of social media or news.

Posted by Bill Johnson  | April 23, 2020 at 8:28AM | Reply

I have tried this before and it never seems to work :-). I feel it’s worth doing so I’m going to give it another go. Aiming for 10:30 and 2:30 every day for a half hour. For the first break I am going to do some non-work reading. For the second break I am going to work on my passive income project.

Posted by Eric B  | April 23, 2020 at 8:20AM | Reply

Done! Can never have too many breaks! :)

Posted by Samuel  | April 23, 2020 at 8:16AM | Reply

I would love to start with 30 min breaks, however, 10 min breaks will be more realistic for me to start with. I’ll be going for a brief walk or some form of exercise.

Posted by Tor  | April 23, 2020 at 8:13AM | Reply

Two nice walks outside 15 minutes (blocked 30)

Posted by Matt  | April 23, 2020 at 8:13AM | Reply

I’m very big on frequent breaks and staying off social media during the workday. Getting outside for fresh air is even more important during this season where many people are subject to stay at home orders.

Posted by Al  | April 23, 2020 at 8:06AM | Reply

THIS will be the biggest challenge for me, by far! I find myself sitting for hours without taking a break. Intellectually, I know this is bad on many levels. My challenge is feeling like I just need to get one more thing done… that thing usually takes a little longer than expected and then something else comes in… usually via my email inbox. :-/ With your suggestion, I’ll begin to use the Pomodoro technique to remind me that it’s time to take a break. Wish me success! Thanks for the challenge and all the AE team does!

Posted by Eric  | April 23, 2020 at 8:04AM | Reply

Something i’ve been doing but i haven’t made sure i actually completed it was putting in personal development time. The time was suppose to go out and learn a new task, study for a cert, etc. I have been bad at keeping this up. I’m going to break this up into a hour and put in a half hour break but not sure what i’m going to do in this time.

Posted by Michael Peterson  | April 23, 2020 at 7:56AM | Reply

Thirty minute breaks??? :)
I am going to start smaller. This is definitely something I struggle with. And culturally my work seems to have come to the conclusion that “Well no one is going anywhere anyways.”. Yesterday I had a break between 5:30 and 8:30 (yes in the evening).

Today I will be starting in the next 45 minutes, and because of volunteering and other commitments, I may get offline by 8:30 this evening.

All good things. But something has to go. :)

Break… I will work this in, but 30 minutes will be too high of a bar to start with. Let’s try 10.

Although, one thing I did do for my team is schedule a 20 minute virtual breakroom 2x a week. With no sports, and no one going out, and hobbies somewhat at a standstill (and me not being a small talk guy) sometimes these are tough though too.

Posted by Harold Benkoski  | April 23, 2020 at 7:38AM | Reply

I will play with my dogs and water plants, move around to clear mind and refresh

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