productivity tips · May 27, 2020

How to Take a Break When Working Remotely to Increase Productivity?

Productivity hacks

We are living in a workaholic culture that even taking a longer lunch break than usual might stir up worry, stress and anxiety that other colleagues might think less of us. We are obsessed with being “work martyrs” to prove our abilities to meet deadlines and complete the to-do lists every single day.

Business owners might not be happy to see their employees taking a break during work. Breaks can be easily mistaken for “wasting time” for leisure purposes. Who would want to pay their employees for not doing their jobs, right?

But little do you know that taking breaks properly can increase productivity, on many levels. A new study has shown that a brief diversion from a task can drastically improve one’s productivity and ability to focus on the task at hand.

Read more on 7 productivity tips to avoid burnout at work.

The benefits of taking a proper break

1. Avoid physically and mentally burnout

Burnout physically

Even if you are a chronic workaholic, you should never push yourself to a breaking point. Long-term productivity always prevails short-term achievements. Being overwhelming can cost you so much more than just a couple days of feeling down or unmotivated. Working for long periods can also put your health at risk. Science has proven that long working hours without interruptions will increase heart failures, diabetes, stress-related disease and brain damage. Your to-do list can wait for another 15-minute break, but your health can’t.

2. Get your mind the right fuel to regain productivity

Productivity energy

To keep your brain working at its peak performance, taking a break regularly can release dopamine and decrease cortisol levels to help your brain relax. A lot of employees mistakenly believe having a break equals not doing your job or being lazy. However, if you are constantly working on a project that requires concentration and creativity, your prefrontal cortex where all of the decision making and logical thinking happens is constantly under stress as well. Without a necessary downtime, your brain will get fatigued and you will get stuck at your task list without any progression.

Read more on 6 mistakes project managers make that kill productivity

3. Cultivate a healthier schedule and get rid of addictions

Healthy lifestyle

If you keep lighting a cigarette once every 20 minutes, chances are you have been too stressed for a long time. Instead of sticking to your bad habits, taking a longer lunch break to enjoy your healthy meal can make a huge impact on your productivity. Starting from a nutritious meal, you can incorporate more healthy habits into your work life. You can even squeeze in a 25-minute nap, which can reset your working brain for better decision making and prevent memory loss.

Task management tool

How to set up constructive breaks when working remotely?

1. Schedule your breaks

Even if you are currently working from your sofa at the moment, taking a break isn’t something that you should be ashamed of. Many people believe that when you’re not in the office, you’re lazy. However, no matter where you are working from, short breaks can help you recharge your energy and help you break away from the productivity slumps.

If your job is really demanding, try to squeeze 10-minute breaks after every hour of deep work. After working for every one hour, your brain has used up all of the focusing and consolidation quotas, you need to give yourself some downtime to retain the best performance.

2. Create a healthy break routine

When you are working, your brain and your mental state have been pushed to the maximum limitation in order to get jobs done. So during your downtime, if you choose to play video games or some other activities that require intense concentration, it actually does more harm than good to yourself.

Try to indulge yourself with some healthy periodic breaks throughout the day. If possible, take a walk in the nearby park to surround yourself with plants and green spaces. If you’re locked down inside your house, try to go to another room and close your eyes for 5 minutes to relax the muscles and let your brain breathe. You don’t have to keep your break work-related, just find something relaxing to do. Sometimes a good nap can be an incredible way to reboot your brain and provide energy and enthusiasm.

3. Talk to someone during your breaks

Especially when you’re alone working remotely, you should reach out to your colleagues to have a real conversation. If emails or a project management software app isn’t the best way to communicate with your teams, try to call them via Skype or cell phones. It doesn’t mean you have to conduct a meaningful deep conversation with your friends or colleagues during your breaks, a quick catch-up could also help you take your mind off the stress.

Social networking is very important to reinforce bonds and increase collaboration opportunities. Casual conversations between team members can really increase team productivity by 20%. Remote working might prevent you from chatting with your colleagues by the water cooler, however, a virtual coffee break can also do the trick! Pour yourself a cup of cold-brew and call someone to rant about your jobs! After all, you’ve earned your breaks by working hard all day long!

Read more on the art of being productive while staying in.

Work hard, but never forget to balance your life

Work productive

We are living in a world where being a chronic workaholic makes you appear as hard-working and ambitious. There’s nothing wrong with working hard for what you believe in and creating values for others. However, never forget to take care of yourself too. Having constructive breaks won’t make you a lazy person. There’s a difference between people who burn out and people who burn bright. Productivity doesn’t mean working to death. The era of working hard should be over by now. Productivity now means constantly working smart, creating a healthy balanced lifestyle instead of driving yourself crazy.

That’s all for today! What's your win today? Let us know in the comment section below or tweet us at @quire_io 😍

Vicky Pham
Trying not to get lost in the city lights.