Tip 18 – Take Actual Breaks

by Annie

in Fall Into Productivity

Image of fallen orange and russet leaves on small body of water with a text overlay reading "#18 - Take actual breaks"

This is a post in Pajama Productivity’s first (hopefully) annual “Fall Into Productivity” month. (Clever wordplay, right? The llamas came up with that.) All month long in October 2016, we’ll be publishing lovely autumnal graphics with a fresh productivity tip each and every day. You can catch all the fall fun right here on the PJP blog, on our PJP Facebook page, or on Twitter @pjproductivity – use the #FallIntoProductivity hashtag to find all posts.

Happy Day 18 of Fall Into Productivity Month, also known as Tuesday! WHOOT! We made it past Monday, people!

dancingyesbro fallonyes yeswoman

I think he speaks for us all, really…

Which segues nicely into today’s tip! Hey! Look at that! (TOTALLY did not plan that.)

And today’s tip is….

Take actual breaks.

Every. Damn. Day.

If this seems wrong to you – a productivity blogger telling you to take daily breaks – then it’s probably something you, especially, need to do.

What happens when we get overwhelmed and stressed with All The Stuff? Lots of nasty things. Some of them biochemical, some of them psychological, but it all adds up to One Stressed Puppy, Incapable of Doing Actual Work.

The cure is, thankfully, very simple: Take actual breaks.

Hey, that’s the same as today’s tip! WHAT A COINCIDENCE!

(No, not really.)

(Ed. note: We apologize. Annie’s been in a mood for awhile now. We think it’s because she really likes the fall season, though we can’t get her to call it “fall” to save our llama lives. She insists on calling it “autumn.” Yeah, we don’t know either. ~ Frank the PJP Llama)

So, specifically, here’s what you aim for:

  1. Every 60 minutes, take a 5 minute break. Get up, walk around, get some water. Simply switching tabs to Facebook isn’t sufficient – you need to give you eyes a break, too.
  2. At least once a day, take 30 minutes (at a minimum). You can do this during your workday if that feels better for you (for instance, you can take an actual lunch break, instead of simply wolfing down more Cheetos at your desk, and while we’re at it, time for a grown-up diet, sweet pea). Or you can do it when you first get up (a meditation practice to start your day) or any other time, really. The key is to get away from the screens for a solid half-hour and engage in something that feels good.
  3. Every week, devote one day to rest, or at least to non-work projects, whenever possible. This one’s a recommendation, not a rule, because I know (hoo boy do I) that when you’re a Couch Warrior (freelancer, coach, etc.) you don’t always have the luxury to not work for a whole day. But if you can, one day of rest each week will go a long way to improving your productivity the other six.

To stay on top of this, you can set alarms on your phone, or you can use Toggl, which is my very favorite timer. Use the Toggl extension for Chrome, and you can set it up to prompt you to take a break in “Pomodoro mode,” based on any time interval you select.

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