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Planning Your Work Break Schedule

Work break schedule – for some reason we as humans find ourselves feeling guilty when we take a break.

Work break schedule – for some reason we as humans find ourselves feeling guilty when we take a break. We think that most of the day has to be taken up by work and ‘breaks’ (the word itself makes you think of a stop in the running of things) have to be few and far between. I’m not going to tell you that you should flip that dynamic around and spend most of your day on a break. Why? You’ll probably get in trouble with your teacher and more importantly I’ll get in trouble.

When you have a plethora of information to learn it can be overwhelming. Sometimes it can be a struggle to even pause and plan your work schedule to manage your new heavy workload. But, take a moment to take stock and create a weekly schedule that breaks down to a daily routine for your working hours. Here’s the thing though, you need to learn to include short breaks in your time blocks. Like I said sometimes we feel guilty taking a break but a time to break helps us to stay focussed and helps us to work better smarter!

If you learn how to make your breaks more effective then you’ll have a more easy and positive working day. Here’s how and why:

work break schedule - reading

Getting to know your optimum work rate to maximise your work break schedule

some trial and error. Although we’ve been working and learning most of our life we can struggle to know how to balance life and work. To nail this first step you need to figure out how long you can stay ‘in the zone’ before your mind starts to wander. It sounds simple but it will really help you plan and be productive.

If you have no idea where to start, try working for half an hour before taking a 5-minute break. Keep doing this 3 or 4 times before you take a longer half an hour break. If you find that you can work longer before needing a break or alternatively, you find that you can’t work that long without a break then adjust it to what feels right for you! This will help you structure the most efficient work break schedule for you.

Remember that we are all different so your break schedule will be different to a friend. Don’t try and fit into the plan of the person sitting next to you. Make sure you are thinking of yourself and how to increase your productivity while having a work life balance and regular breaks.

Active body, active mind

It’s important that you ‘work’ some exercise in your day (sorry). Being active makes the blood flow to your brain. This helps you stay focused and work better! If you’ve been sitting for a long time; get up, stretch, go for a walk, take a break! When you pause for your active break, try and clear your mind as well. Take a mental break as well as a physical break.

When get back from your active break and you’re at your desk make sure you’re not hunched over. Again, sounds simple but this is bad for your spine and may give you back pain. If you have even a dull pain it will interfere with your productivity. You’ll work better when your posture is straight and this is best for your health too. Looking after yourself will help you to stay on track long term, this is really important. Learning is a long term job!

work break schedule - relaxing

Get motivated

Do something productive in your work break that gets you excited to go back to your desk. If watching motivational YouTube videos in your break is your thing then do that! If you’re someone that gets pumped after listening to music then create a playlist filled with the songs that inspire you to go back and do your best work.

A great way to exercise your mind in a fun way while still taking a break is to do a small puzzle or games that challenge you. Things like a crossword, word games or trivia. There are hundreds of these in the app store, my personal favourite is words with friends.

work break schedule - food


For Success! (I’m really sorry about that one)

I just needed a snappy title to tell you to eat wisely and that was the best I could do. We’ve all made the mistake of eating too much during our break. Then feeling exhausted and sluggish when it’s time to return to the desk. It’s the worst and you should avoid it. I know you already know this but it’s so easy to forget!

The best foods to eat during your breaks are those which are healthy and give you energy. Foods like fruit, nuts and yoghurts are healthy and filling. During your longer lunch break, avoid big meals that have a high fat and carb content. These are not only unhealthy but will also make you tired and less productive. Resist the temptation to eat that cookie or pick up that bag of crisps!

Make sure when you plan your work break schedule you include snack breaks! It seems silly to think about including snacking in your daily plan but our brains need energy to work so it’s key to keep your energy levels up! We’ve all made the mistake when doing an important task of working through a lunch break so make sure you include snack breaks in your daily schedule.


Adding Relaxing to your work break schedule

But not too much!

Many fall victim to the ‘break’ trap. This is when you become so relaxed during your break that the last thing you want to do is get back to work. You’ve wound all the way down. One of the worst things you can do on your work break is taking a nap. Unless that is you’re very disciplined and have cracked how to do power naps (you’re like in the 1%) then you should avoid sleeping as you’ll wake up groggy and cranky. Or worse still find yourself waking up an hour later than you planned!

What you should do is relax by doing breathing exercises and stretching. This will relax you but allow you to keep focused at the same time. In fact, you can do these at your desk too!

Getting regular breaks and balancing your work break schedule is important but to be able to do this keeping track of your work is vital. Take a read of this related article here on tracking your work. Time tracking and a daily schedule are key parts of our daily routine so try and imbed these habits now!

Keep up the hard work and make sure you are working smart and working well. Start to imbed your daily and weekly panning as an everyday task. This will help you stay focussed and avoid distraction.

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