Take a Break or You Will Break
Updated: Nov 29, 2020
When you have free time, you want to make the most of it. When I say free time, I mean any time that does not have a meeting associated with it. This time is your time, so you should be spending it exactly how you want.
Most people spend the early parts of their working lives trying to figure out a routine that will create the best source of output. Many follow the general guideline of 9-5, with 12-1pm lunch. Meetings fill the spaces of this time and we are left to our own devices to figure out how to accomplish our work with the time that we have remaining.
A valuable method to ensure that you are making the most out of your time is the Pomodoro Method - work for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. Repeat until your work is complete.
To successfully utilize the Pomodoro Technique, however, it's important not to fall into some easy traps. We want to make sure we're taking active, replenishing breaks, so that means no Instagram scrolls or Reddit dives.
Instead, here are some of our favorite 5 minute break activities:
Quick Workout - No better time than the present to get active- pushups, sit-ups, squats, lunges are all great exercises you can do in under 5 minutes.
Yoga / Stretching - If you've been sitting down all day, give your hips and back good stretch - Downward Dog, Cat Camels, Deep Lunge.
Coffee break - Now that we're working from home, we sometimes forget about the mid-day walks to the office kitchen or visits to the neighborhood coffee shop. Just because your office mates aren't here to remind you doesn't mean you can't still get up and stretch your legs with a walk to the kitchen. Just try to stick with healthy snacks.
Breath Work - There are great breathing techniques that you can execute in this 5 minutes (Box Breath). If you want someone to guide you, Deepak Chopra has a great podcast that offers sub-5 minute guided breathing sessions.
Watch a funny video - Outside of breath work, laughter is the best way to relax. Follow Laugh.Events newsletter for funny weekly content and things that can consistently make you smile. Just don't go down the rabbit hole!
Here's what you should NOT do in those 5 minutes:
Don't Check Email - Checking email will distract you from the work that you are actively working on. If you must check email, commit to 25 minutes of email and weave it into your Pomodoro reps.
Don't Skip Breaks - If you "power through" and skip one of these breaks, then it won't be effective. Do at least 4 Pomodoro reps before you skip your breaks. At that point, take another 15 minute break.
Try it out for the next week and see how you like it!