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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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What kind of breaks do you take throughout the work day?

Discussion (41)

mortoray profile image
edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

My primary break mechanism is run by a CD player. I've got 30-70 minute windows to get stuff done before it plays to the end and I must get up and replace the CD. (Sorry digital music, there's no such equivalent)

The breaks I do take:

  • stretching break (the normal one)
  • bike break (when I don't really feel like working anymore)
  • walking break (only if too sore/tired for bike break)
  • nap break (because I work from home and I can)
  • lunch/dinner break (can't be a workaholic without food)
  • twitter/reddit break (the brain can still do stuff on low-power)
andy profile image
Andy Zhao (he/him)

the brain can still do stuff on low-power

Totally feel this way. I think if anything it's kind of helping me recharge when I run my mindless cycle of reddit/twitter/etc. There are definitely times where I need to close the laptop though. I'd like to say I have a decent balance :)

rapidnerd profile image
George Marr

I often forget how long I've been working and sitting down for which tends to be really bad, sometimes I'm sat down for 7-10 hours at a time. Most of the time I don't need to get up from my chair for food or drink because I've basically built a kitchen into my office. My breaks often include:

  • Falling over from being sat down for too long
  • Walking to the shops
  • When I do remember I often take long walks, especially when something is bugging me

  • Falling over the cat

hdennen profile image
Harry Dennen

😂 I've been there... And since I can tell you're totally looking for unsolicited advice, I'll recommend having a look at this article from James Clear:

The gist is that the decisions you make are largely governed by the environment. Like for instance, putting a kitchen in your office creates a disincentive for break taking. Take care of yourself pal.

jj profile image
Juan Julián Merelo Guervós

When I stay at home for working on non-academic stuff (as if there's such a thing), I go out to buy groceries and other supplies in the neighborhood and then I cook while I listen to some podcast. It's quite relaxing, and very nutritive.
Chili con carne for 5 people, with a full tupperware for the next day

nicolasjhampton profile image
Nicolas Hampton • Edited on

I was quitting smoking at the same time I learned web development, but the 5 minute walks stuck. Usually it's whenever I get stuck on some problem I don't want to be in, like mocking a network request in a test. A good 5 minute 'intentional breathing' walk outside usually clears up the path forward, whatever I'm doing.

slacle profile image

Good and important question.

Breaks should not only be from doing work, but also from the computer and from sitting. I try to get up and stretch a bit at least once an hour. Can be hard in an office with other people, so I go to the kitchen, outside, or even bathroom.

Sitting for long periods of time non stop has many kinds of negative consequences which are not reversed even by eating healthy and excising. It's better to take a lot of little breaks and do small walks and little bit of stretching than to sit non stop for hours and then go to the gym for a hard work out at the end (or start) of the day.

If you sit at an office, you should watch this video

Diana Ilithya - Health, mental health and what not | JSUnconf 2018 Lightning Talks

Ramon Huidobro - The importance of taking a break | JSUnconf 2018 Lightning Talks

Sitting vs. Standing. Is Your Sedentary Life Killing You?

jfrankcarr profile image
Frank Carr

If the weather is good I'll play guitar at lunch out in the parking lot. I have a battery operated amp that I can use for this.

Other times, I'll read some forums and blogs, either on tech or guitars, and peruse Twitter for interesting stuff.

bgadrian profile image
Adrian B.G.

I don't smoke (anymore) but I still do 5-10 min hourly breaks with my colleagues.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I’ve never smoked cigarettes but three of my siblings do and I love tagging along on smoke breaks. A bit of fresh air is awesome.

bgadrian profile image
Adrian B.G.

The main idea is to force myself, or remind me (when I see my colleagues going to get their drugs) that I need a brake.

Even if I don't go out with them on the balcony, I walk around, help other peers, play a game or make a cup of tea.

Another advantage is that I force myself to exit "the zone" and realize other stuff that I may overlooked or find a solution I couldn't otherwise (because I was too deep into it).

Thread Thread
tmcsquared profile image

Stepping back and taking a fresh look at a problem is always a good idea. It doesn't apply just to programming either.

jjjjcccjjf profile image
endan • Edited on

<sarcasm>I'm pretty sure secondhand smoke is not fresh air...</sarcasm>

raphael_jambalos profile image
Raphael Jambalos

I often take "Facebook" breaks throughout the day. Although, I'm pretty sure this ain't the best use of my "break time". Sometimes reverting to some kind of mindless scrolling gives me a breather from all the logic I've been doing throughout the day. I also take short walks mid-day. How about you?

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I take pretty frequent "walk around the building and think" breaks as part of my workflow. I'm still working through the problem, but it's a bit of a break.

I'll sometimes take a break to browse /r/politics throughout the day. Right now our office has no couch area, which would be a better place to take a real break, but we'll maybe have something like that soon.

alexiskold profile image
Alex Iskold 🗽

I don't really have much time for a break, but I switch between companies and businesses. Switching is actually, while seem super hard, makes it easier for me to get through the day. Kind of like changing activities. Another thing that I do is I make sure I walk to meetings if I can, this helps a lot. I also exercise first thing in am, to make sure I stay fresh.

josegonz321 profile image
Jose Gonzalez
  • Bathroom breaks.
  • Interacting with people from other teams.
  • Tea breaks, time to prepare my tea.
  • Walks to the vending machines. They are a floor above. It’s quite a nice walk and mental break.
  • Lunch at atrium. Away from computer screen. Eat in peacefully and enjoying the lake view. If I have time, I continue reading the book I’m currently reading.
craigbutcher profile image
Craig Butcher

Normally after a couple of hours after starting work in the morning, I go off to make a delicious flat white and peanut butter on sourdough toasts in the morning. It's my time that I need and a reminder to be kind to myself.

Other breaks is sitting in the private toilet and doing silent screaming...

scottishross profile image
Ross Henderson

My work requires that I take two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute break for lunch. I generally grab my phone and sit either in our break area and chat to people, or I'll go to a quiet room and have a chat with some friends.

I would like to do more walking or something, but frankly the nature around us are hedges to block other warehouses aha.

alexgwartney profile image
Alex Gwartney

For me my main breaks are during work. So generally i will use it as a time to work on home work or my other side goals. Or I will use it as a time to get up away from the desk. But the majority of the time I use it as way to fill in any time i can to work toward my goals.

cat profile image

~ 15-30mins

  • Walk around the building
  • If there is a free small meeting room, I take it over and nap.
  • Continue walk if there is no free room
  • Encounter food stops
  • If there is anything enticing, sit and eat
  • If not, continue walk until back at desk
  • Probably should drink water.

I bring both work and personal phones with me in case of an urgent ping. Other than that, I try not to look at any screens since I look at one for the majority of the day.

Or if it's like a really quick break, I'm here and on twitter. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

easyaspython profile image
Dane Hillard

When I worked in the office, I took a full lunch and at least one break to walk somewhere for coffee in the afternoon. The afternoon walk got blood flowing, gave me a (probably unnecessary) caffeine boost, and was an opportunity to rope in another coworker and chat about whatever.

I work remotely right now, so my breaks are usually food prep or getting some else done around the house so that I have more time to spend being present after work.

spboyer profile image
Shayne Boyer

I work at home, so I do not have a "standard" work day where you get in car or transit to go to work. But one thing I am a proponent of is taking an actual lunch.

This means either going out somewhere to grab a bite once in a while with my wife or friends, or walking away from the desk sitting down at the table and watching a show for 30 minutes while I'm eating something prepared or picked up.

It's important to have a proper meal of course, but also take that time away in the middle 'ish of your day to break it up.

bearddadcodedad profile image
Andrew Corsini

Besides lunch, I like to take at least two walking breaks. I work in a very large building so I like to walk laps around the edge of it for about 15 minutes. Helps break up the day and always me to drift and think about non-work related items, giving my mind a much needed break and mental stretch.

toanlc0912 profile image
Toàn Lư

I normally take a walk around the office and talk to some colleagues as burst out a little stress and stretching my body a little bit.

Surfing 9gag or reading news in lunch time or maybe playing games (seems like I am the only one here do that) :D

niorad profile image
Antonio Radovcic

Between 9 and lunch there's no longer break, really.
Between Lunch and 17:30 there's one ~15 Min. break for coffee and sweets.
(With a couple of shorter get-coffee-breaks and foosball-matches sprinkled throughout the day)

rhnonose profile image
Rodrigo Nonose

(I work from home)

  • Make (and drink) coffee
  • Take dogs to walk or play with them
  • Stretch/meditate (trying to do more often)
  • Nap (occasionally)
  • Listen to a podcast (without looking at the screen), not necessarily tech ones
  • Read (just one) article/blog post/thread from my reading list
monknomo profile image
Gunnar Gissel

I make sure to take a walk break or two, especially if I’ve been looking at something tricky and coming up dry

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Do you have any queues to do this? Timers or apps or anything? Or is it just a routine?

monknomo profile image
Gunnar Gissel • Edited on

I rely on a clock and habit :)

miku86 profile image

I'm taking three breaks:

  • a 30min Walking-Break after 2hrs of work
  • a 120min Walking, Eating, Napping-Break after 4 hrs of work
  • a 30min Walking-Breaking after 6hrs of work
weswedding profile image
Weston Wedding

I'm pretty bad at taking explicit breaks other than lunch. A scroll through Twitter here, and scroll through Facebook there.

letsbsocial1 profile image
Maria Campbell

Good question.

hoz1982 profile image
Alessandro Romani

1) Coffee
2) Play Videogames
3) Read Comics or a Book
4) Take a short walk
5) More Coffee

cathodion profile image
Dustin King • Edited on

When I work a normal 9-6ish workday, I like to go to lunch at noon at some nearby fast food place, and then take a walk around 3. Other breaks as needed.

hawicaesar profile image
  • Water break
  • Walk break
  • Pool break
maxwell_dev profile image
Max Antonucci

After lunch, I take a walk and let my mind wander.

Throughout the day, it's either Sudoku or a quick nap. I plan to do naps more, since they do wonders for my focus afterwards.

pmbanugo profile image
Peter Mbanugo

I take 5 minutes after every 20 minutes and just walk around, stretch, or drink water. After some hours a break to workout and in some days take a nap

jochemstoel profile image
Jochem Stoel

Smoke break!

garfbradaz profile image
Gareth Bradley

I watch a UK TV program called Bargain Hunt with the wife, cuddling up on the sofa.

ghost profile image

I try and get up and walk around some. Maybe grab a coffee or water and make sure I stand long enough to get the blood flowing good everywhere before sitting down and going back to work.