Taking breaks is essential to anyone who works from home. Think of the calming smells of a freshly brewed cup of tea on a summer day, the sun warming your skin as you read on your porch with your feet propped up, or the stress-reducing tunes you listen to after a long day. If you take breaks while working in an office, taking breaks while working at home is even more important.
Why? The mental separation of work life from home life needs to be recognized. Your work life may start to blend into your home life, and not only will your home life suffer for it, but so will your mental health.
Taking breaks from work increases your focus when you return to work, improving your productivity and happiness levels. Breaks also relieve stress, which improves your mental health and general well-being. Sure, you might have heard about all the benefits of taking breaks while working from home before. You might even be a pro at scheduling them already. Reading this post might even be part of a break for you.
But did you know there’s a catch to taking breaks?
The answer is, of course, everybody. However, it’s not uncommon for people to unconsciously feel this way. Taking breaks consistently can be difficult for some.
A reason for this could be paranoia surrounding your productivity levels. Maybe you feel like you’ve got something to prove, or you need to get this last thing done. It would only take just a minute longer, and by then it’s an hour later and it’s not up to your expectations.
Another reason why people may choose not to take breaks is their expectations of themselves. You’ve got to get this, this, and this to do and you should get it all done before lunch so that you can do that after lunch, and then suddenly, you’re having your lunch at 2:00 p.m.
There are numerous reasons why people forget breaks. The point is to prioritize you. You can’t get all that done at a high-quality level by shoving it all together with no peace of mind. It’s better to take longer to do a good job at something than to finish it in record time and have the fruits of your labor fall flat.
Fatigue. Stress. Lower quality work. Burnout. Eye strain. Neck and back problems. Addiction to work.
The list could go on. Taking breaks cannot be stressed enough. They are key to your mental and physical health. Even if it seems silly to take a break every hour, even just for five minutes, your quality of work will improve if you do.
Taking breaks is self-care, which is an investment in yourself. Aren’t you worth the time you’re spending on all this work?
Here’s the catch to taking breaks: you need to do something intentional with your time.
A break should be something intentional and productive, and this will look different for everyone. If you’re at a computer all day, you might go for a walk or call a friend. You could play an instrument for a few minutes, read an educational book, or work on a hobby.
The point of the intentional break is to do something completely different from what you’re working on and do something you enjoy that you get something out of. If you spend all day working on a computer, spending time more time on the internet isn’t the way to take a break.
Walk away. Change it up. Spice up your break time. Make it about you. Enjoy it.
Try to be intentional with your breaks. If you’re learning to draw, take ten minutes to work on drawing anatomy. If you’re learning an instrument, take ten minutes to figure out that one chord. If you’re an aspiring gardener, take ten minutes to read about growing vegetables.
With these examples, the intention is to expand your knowledge by learning something new that is entirely different from your work. If it’s a hobby you’re spending your time on, you’re more likely to enjoy your breaks and get something out of them.
This is the truth about the secret of breaks: doing something you enjoy will recharge your brain, improve your happiness, and make you more engaged with work. Learning about things we like makes us happy humans, and happy humans produce better work.
The secret to breaks isn’t really all that secret, but you might be amazed at how little people think about their breaks from this perspective. How will you improve upon your breaks from here on out? Let us know by following CanScribe on Facebook and reaching out to us! Happy break time!