Most people working from home say that taking breaks is what helps them most to be productive, an Airtasker study shows. While it may seem counterintuitive, stepping away from your laptop for a while can be the best idea when you feel stuck.
Having worked out of my apartment for almost 10 years, I know that feeling all too well. Although I try my best to push through, I know it’s time for a break when I’ve spent 15 minutes writing one sentence – and then deleted it.
My go-to antidotes for moments like that? Here are the top 3:
- Letting the dog walk me wherever he wants. Inevitably, we end up at the pond behind our house and stare at the geese for a while.
- Cooking a fresh, light meal (that won’t put me to sleep) and talking to my husband.
- Doing an intense 30-minute workout – a combo of Pilates and cardio dance aerobic. Once I shower and make myself another cup of coffee, those sentences start writing themselves.
I wanted to know how other people decompress during – or after – their work hours, so I reached out to my colleagues and peers from ZeroBounce, eSputnik, Wholesome Commerce, and Helpjuice.
Here’s what they told me.
Anca Vasile, ZeroBounce: “This is the most relaxing part of my breaks.”
“Since I started working remotely, I pay more attention to my environment. I like the light of the sun very much, so when I work, the room must be bright and fresh.
Sometimes I’ll buy flowers. I like to create a cozy and pleasant ambience to work in.
Usually, I take a short break every hour. Sometimes I eat, or I do little things around the house, like watering the plants. Also, my Chihuahua needs a lot of affection, so I make time to play with him. This is the most relaxing and enjoyable part of my breaks. Those small moments of peace and fun help me focus once I get back to my laptop.
Remote work has made me more productive. Even if I work more, I can’t complain about it since I’m happy in my home office. This is probably the reason why my job seems easy to me – it’s the benefit of working remotely.
Once my work day is over, I either watch a movie or go for a walk in the park. Walking outside helps me clear my mind, so sometimes I walk eight kilometers a day.
On shorter work days, I love to cook in the evening, go to a massage or spend time with my best friends. It’s the little things that give us the most energy, so we can return to work with renewed enthusiasm.”
— Anca Vasile, Customer Support Trainer at ZeroBounce
Euheniy Zayats , eSputnik: “I try to do at least 60 minutes outside.”
“My performance when working remotely is rooted in sticking to regular hours and a set routine. Although work from home gives a great deal of flexibility, I haven’t changed my work schedule much.
Mornings remain a time for team meetings and communication with partners. A lunch break is for a walk to refuel myself a bit.
And typically, I try to do at least 60 minutes outside. After-lunch hours are for studying reports and strategy planning. And evenings are for family and friends.
At the weekend, I also dedicate some time to what can be described as work-related issues. But it’s mostly self-education and training, so I see it as an investment in my development rather than overworking.
Such a schedule helps me maintain a healthy work-life balance and avoid
attention drifting at work hours.”
— Euheniy Zayats, Chief Marketing Officer at eSputnik
Qhubekani Nyathi, Wholesome Commerce: “I do stretch exercises indoors.”
“Staying productive and keeping your focus when working from home can be a challenge.
I’m fortunate enough to live on the edge of a bushy area. My favorite way to disconnect and recharge my batteries is by taking a walk to a dam close by.
As I step out into the wild, the cool breeze hugs me. I enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of being one with nature as I listen to the occasional chirps of various bird species that break the calming silence.
I gaze in awe as ducks frolic in the water, gliding in effortless amusement. Taking all this in and breathing the fresh outdoor air is therapeutic and wipes away all the tension of a strained mind. When I get back to my desk, I resume on a clean slate and can concentrate better.
I reserve walks for hour-long breaks in the afternoon after a protracted session of work.
Before noon, I work in intense forty-minute spells. In between the segments, I do stretch exercises indoors to break the high-pressure working cycle. This keeps me fresh, so I push on with renewed energy.”
— Qhubekani Nyathi, SEO Copywriter at Wholesome Commerce
Josh Brown, Helpjuice: “The key for me is to try to be mindful.”
“My favorite way to disconnect when working from home is to do things that I enjoy, like playing with my daughter, going on runs with my dog, or doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
The key for me is to try to be mindful when doing these activities so that I stay in the moment of what I’m doing as opposed to thinking about work.
I don’t have a set schedule for how often I take breaks. Instead, I prefer to let my mental state and productivity guide me.
There are days where I’m super focused and can easily go 8+ hours without a break. Then, there are days where I may be less focused and require several breaks to stay motivated and on task while being productive.”