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10 Ideas for Taking Effective Breaks

When I try to study or work on something, I can do well for a an hour or two before I decide to take a break. Unfortunately, I often end up mindlessly browsing the web for too long and lose my energy to work effectively after the intended break.

The following are suggestions for myself on taking effective breaks. These ideas are mainly for someone working or studying from home or an environment where you're allowed a lot of autonomy in directing your workday. Feel free to try them too if they sound interesting.

    1. Go for a Walk

    If you get stuck working on a particular problem, try taking a walk and enjoy the scenery. It's an opportunity to reduce stress while working on the problem in the back of your mind.

    2. Drink Water

    Or your favorite beverage. I don't usually keep a water bottle near my desk when I'm working, so I probably get a little dehydrated in the process. A quick sip of water is sometimes enough to regain focus.

    3. Do a Minor Chore

    Throw out some junk, sweep the floor, do the dishes, nothing too extensive. If you're not careful, this can become another form of procrastination, but at least your space will become a little cleaner in the process.

    4. Read a Couple of Pages From a Book That’s Unrelated to Your Work or Study

    It's better if you read from a physical book away from your computer or phone so you're not tempted to go into another browser tab or phone app. As long as you don't get carried away and limit the reading to a couple of pages, it can take your mind off of a mental roadblock long enough to get back to work.

    5. Meditate

    Sometimes you can get overwhelmed and even a minute or two of mental stillness will be enough to get you to refocus.

    6. Start a New Idea List

    If you're particularly frustrated by something you're studying or working on, try making an idea list on ways you can solve your problem. If you have no solutions, even writing bad ideas can help you work through your frustrations.

    7. Eat a Light Snack

    Chances are you probably just need a little glucose to help get your brain working again. Avoid eating a large meal unless you're already planning to take a longer break.

    8. Do Some Light Exercise

    If you work sitting down, doing some light exercise to stimulate circulation might give you the jolt you need to keep working.

    9. Visualize Good Outcomes From Your Work or Study Session

    If you're feeling demoralized, visualizing good results from your work or study session can be enough to keep you going for a little longer before you quit for the day.

    10. Take a Nap if You’re Truly Exhausted

    Sometimes nothing works! Try taking a nap if you simply don't have the energy anymore. Just make sure you don't sleep too long and ruin your normal sleep schedule.

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