5 Tips on Taking Breaks When Working from Home
Concentration is vital in the world of proofreading and editing. And taking regular breaks is important if you want to be able to focus on a document for prolonged periods. But how do you get the most out of breaks when working from home? We suggest:
- Work breaks into your daily schedule and make sure to take them!
- Use your breaks to take time away from the computer screen.
- If you’re eating or drinking during your break, try to have something healthy.
- Use meditation and breathing exercises to decrease stress.
- Consider taking “microbreaks,” such as with the Pomodoro technique.
For more on how to make the most of your breaks when working from home, read on below.
1. Make Breaks Part of Your Daily Schedule
When working from home, it is often tempting to skip breaks entirely. But this can lead to losing your focus and sloppy work, or even burnout over prolonged periods.
As a result, it pays to make breaks part of your daily schedule. When planning your workday, then, make sure to include:
- Regular short breaks throughout the day. Experts recommend taking a 5-to-10-minute break every 90 minutes or whenever your focus starts to flag.
- At least one longer break (30 mins to an hour) so you don’t burn out.
In terms of scheduling, knowing your body clock and when you are most and least productive helps. If you know you’re likely to start flagging in the afternoon, for instance, you can schedule a longer break to take a walk in the fresh air for then.
However, don’t worry too much about sticking to your break schedule slavishly! If you’re being productive and don’t want to lose your momentum, delaying your break until you finish is fine. The key is making sure to take breaks at some point during your workday.
2. Take Time Away from the Computer
As tempting as it may be to stay at your computer and argue with strangers on social media during your break, this is not the most productive option. Ideally, you should take time away from the computer whenever you’re on a break. Instead, you could:
- Take a walk or just sit outside and get some fresh air.
- Do some stretches or other exercise.
- Read, draw, or do another quiet activity.
- Do a household chore or two to save time later in the day.
Essentially, you can do what you like! But if you want to avoid straining your eyes and refresh yourself for the rest of the work day, try to do it away from the computer.
3. Eat Healthy Snacks
As well as making you feel better in general, a good diet can aid concentration. If you have a tendency to snack during breaks, then, make sure you have healthy foods at hand.
Some snackable foods that you can try include berries, seeds, and nuts. However, any healthy snack is good. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water! Tea and coffee are fine in moderation, but your body needs water if you’re going to stay hydrated.
4. Use Meditation and Breathing Exercises
A short break might not give you time to do much, but you can always meditate for a few minutes. No longer just for the spiritually enlightened, meditation and breathing exercises are now recommended as a form of stress management by many psychologists.
If you’re taking a quick break during a hard day, then, try the following:
- Find a comfortable sitting position and close your eyes.
- Place one hand flat on your belly and the other on your chest.
- Breathe in as deeply as you can through your nose.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth.
- Repeat this process for a few minutes.
Doing this while focusing on your breath and the movement of your hand against your belly throughout is a great way to relax, clearing your mind of everyday stresses. And if this exercise doesn’t work for you, there are plenty of others you can try.
5. Try Taking Microbreaks
Many professionals now swear by “microbreaks,” such as in the Pomodoro Technique. Developed by writer Francesco Cirillo, who named the technique after his tomato-shaped kitchen timer, this involves taking a 5-minute break for every 25 minutes of work, plus a longer 15-to-30-minute break for every fourth 25-minute block of work you do.
This is just one technique, so the length and frequency of microbreaks can vary depending on your needs. But having a systematic approach like this can help sharpen your focus, as well as being helpful for those who are prone to skipping breaks without a reminder!
Becoming A Proofreader
If you’d like a career that lets you work from home, then proofreading might be right for you. And with a free trial available for our excellent Becoming A Proofreader course, there’s no reason not to try today. Just don’t forget to take regular breaks!