What kind of breaks do you take at work ?

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Up until now I always have been able to work all day without taking breaks (besides a mid-day lunch break) but I'm starting to feel the need to take a small break from time to time.

The problem is, I don't know what to do to make a break useful and efficient. If I do I often just do something else on the computer (checking my personal mails, social media, news...) and it does not feel like a real break at all.

What are your thoughts on this ? Do you take breaks at work ? If so, what do you do ? And for how long ?

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I work from home at the moment so I just end up cleaning my apartment or do a quick grocery shop run. When I was in the offices I'd always try to get a 15 mins "walking coffee" (tea is fine too!) scheduled with some colleague ~3-4pm in the afternoon.

My schedule would be:

  • Get in at 9/9:30am, work until 12:30 and then go off to lunch for 30-45 mins. Never eat at the office (It helps when you work in LA and it's always sunny outside!). During lunch break find somebody who wants to go grab coffee later to discuss some project or whatever else. You'll find that a lot of other people feel like you about taking breaks :)
  • Work from 1pm to whenever coffee is scheduled for.
  • Do a small walking meeting to the coffee shop and back.
  • Wrap up the day and go home.
 

The main break I take is at lunch. When the weather is good like it has been this week, I go out to the parking lot and play guitar for about 30 minutes or so.

Other times, I'll walk around, down to the lobby area and back and forth a few times, going up and down the stairs.

 

The hardest part for me is changing context. I can endure 8-12 hours of pure programming but I'm having difficulties handling a meeting after lunch then going straight back to programming. If I don't take breaks, I usually just browse Facebook or some social media until I have enough mindless "reboot" time to get back on track. And I do get your point, it doesn't feel like a real break at all, indeed.

The most effective technique for me however is going down our building and taking a walk outside. I sometimes meditate in a park nearby. This really helps me empty my mind, and it's also a good way to rest my eyes.

For breaking in between bursts of programming, I operate by having small talk with my officemates or just eating a snack.

How about you?

 

The small talk is not always an option to me (I'm alone in my office) and my other colleagues have their own projects and schedules, so I don't like barging in just to talk. Even classical coffee breaks are not a thing were I work.

Going out for a walk could be a good break, but then I should find someone to do it with me, or I'll get bored after a few times.

Meditation (which I do and enjoy at others times of the day) would surely do, I'll give it a shot... when I'll be rested enough, right now I would just fall asleep trying 😁

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Quentin Sonrel profile image
Web dev, cinema lover, music enthusiast and video game fan. Working as a full-stack Ruby on Rails web developer and hacking with Node/Express, Vue.js and Flutter on my spare time.