There’s no denying the many benefits of working from home, but before long you’ll start to notice that confining yourself to your home office all day can feel a bit restrictive, especially when there are so many distractions and no supervisor to keep you in check. However, you can combat your itch to get away from the desk fairly effectively by scheduling in breaks throughout the day. Even your average office worker takes lunch and regular breaks. And you should, too. Here are just a few easy ways to break up your day when you work from home.
- Take a nap. There’s just no better way to break up the work day than with an afternoon siesta. Your circadian rhythm is likely to drop you into the doldrums sometime after lunch. So rather than fighting to keep your eyes open, and probably producing substandard work in the process, take a nap to recharge the batteries and come back in fighting shape. No time? Set your phone alarm for a 15-minute power nap; you might be surprised by the difference just a few minutes of shut-eye can make when it comes to your level of energy and concentration.
- Exercise. There are many ways you can work a little movement into your day. You might get up and stretch every couple of hours, or take a walk around the block. You could take your pooch to the dog park for a game of fetch. Or you may prefer something a bit more intense, like a morning or afternoon jog, a yoga class, or some time on the cardio and weight machines down at the gym. All can provide you with a nice break from work that reenergizes you, body and mind.
- Watch a show. Having the TV on in the background all day while you work can definitely be a distraction, so instead, focus on projects for a while and then take a break to coincide with a favorite daytime talk show, soap opera, or sitcom. Or pull up something on the DVR that you might not have time to watch once the rest of the family returns from work and school. Just make sure you set aside a specific amount of time so that you don’t end up watching the boob tube all day at the expense of your work.
- Coffee break. If you’re swamped with projects you might not have time for an extended absence. As it turns out, though, you don’t need a ton of time to reboot your brain. When you start to get antsy and uncomfortable in your office chair, get up for just a few minutes to make yourself a cup of coffee, some fresh-squeezed OJ, or a mood-boosting, green monster smoothie (recipes available online). Just a few minutes away from the monitor can get blood pumping to your extremities (including your head). And the right snack can help you to refuel and get back to work with a bit of vim.
- Take a lunch. Whether you meet a friend at a restaurant or pull out the picnic blankets and a good book and head to the nearest park for an hour, it’s important to take a lunch break for a couple of reasons. First and foremost: you have to eat. When your blood sugar gets low you become irritable and unfocused, hindering your efficiency. And while you could certainly scarf down any old thing from the fridge and get back to work, studies show that sitting down and taking the time to enjoy your meal makes it much more satisfying. This means that by the time you return to work you’ll be relaxed, focused, and ready to face the rest of your day.