When you work from home—especially when you can call your own hours—it can be hard to take time to take a break. For me, I tend to get into a groove. Stopping and walking away seems like it would be counterproductive. However, I also find myself taking “unhealthy” breaks, such as spending time on social media or watching a YouTube video. I’m still sitting at my desk, so are they really breaks?
“Breaks are crucial,” says Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. “If you’re working day after day and not letting up, you will burn out.”
They key, however, is to put your breaks on the calendar. If you don’t schedule them, your brain says, “I know I need to take a break at some point. Why not now?” explains Newport, who recently released The Time-Block Planner: A Daily Method for Deep Work in a Distracted World.
“You’re constantly having that ‘why not now?’ conversation in your head,” he says. “You might take a break to check the news, the election, or something else online. This saps your will power and you end up taking more breaks or you become distracted. If you know you’re taking a break in an hour, you can focus on work and enjoy the break more.”