If you’ve worked in an office, you know the struggle of having to sit at your desk for 8 hours just to appear productive, as if moving away from your computer means you’re an unproductive member of society! Working remotely urges people to stay in front of a PC even more so that it doesn’t look like they’ve been playing games all day instead of working.
Either way, taking regular breaks should be mandatory because when you’re depriving yourself of much-needed break time in order to get more work done, you’re doing the exact opposite - you’re becoming less productive in the long run.
Any freelancer will tell you that working remotely comes with its pros and cons. On one side, it’s very liberating as you can be at a meeting in your pajamas with your feet up on the couch. But on the other hand, it gets boring and tedious very quickly as you’re sans co-workers - constantly!
In this digital-and-online age, we’ve never been closer while being physically distant. But in the same sense, we’ve never been lonelier either. Lack of social interaction has an extremely negative effect on us, and it reflects on our work too.
One possible way to avoid this is to have a regular break time. Before we delve into some creative ideas to help you make the most out of your time, we got a few general tips on how to become more productive while working remotely.
Separate Work-Life From Home Life
This seems impossible when we talk about remote work but it really isn’t. Sure, you’re working at the same place you eat, sleep, or even raise kids, but during the 8 hours, you should try and focus on your work as much as you can.
Imagine looking up from your computer and seeing a pile of dishes in the kitchen sink, or a basket of laundry on the floor. You don’t need that stress on top of your work stress, do you?
To avoid situations like these, try to find a place in the house where you can work without any distractions; somewhere where your housework won’t interfere. Find a break room. In the long run, you won’t feel like every day is a chore day and you’ll be able to improve your work focus.
Move Away From Your Desk
It goes without saying, but you should move away from your desk once in a while - for at least a minute or two. Having your breaks in front of your computer is the biggest mistake you could make - it doesn’t have to be anything special, just back away from your workstation and gather your thoughts. Any makeshift break room will do.
Try not to have your lunch in front of the computer either. Switch it up a little. If it must be in front of the computer, then at least take your computer to the balcony or the garden. Whatever you do, move away from the desk to your break room!
Schedule your Break Time
If you’re a natural improviser, you won’t like the sound of this, but if you’re organized by nature, it goes without saying. Either way: Schedule your breaks! Just like you wouldn’t miss a scheduled meeting, you shouldn’t miss your scheduled breaks!
Plus, it’s easier to plan around your break time when you schedule it. If you have a planned 10-minute break at 12 and then another one at 1:30, you know that you have an hour and a half of uninterrupted work time so you can buckle down and focus - completely!
Now, let’s dive into some creative ways to make the most out of your work and your break time.
- Grab a Cup of Cafecito
There is nothing more satisfying than making a hot, homemade steaming cup of coffee to enjoy on your break. However, limited social interactions, not to mention caffeine’s effects on your health, can make coffee breaks less fun and even off-putting. In this day and age, we’re connected more than ever, so you can just hop on Cafecito.com and drink away!
Try Cafecito on one of our weekly coffee breaks and chat with other remote workers. Just write down when you’re available - remember to schedule your coffee breaks - and based on your interest, we’ll match you up and even give you conversation starters if you need them!
(Like cafecitos? Checkout this giveaway www.meetcafecito.com/posts/free-coffee-giveaway-july-2020)
- Have a Power Nap
One of the many perks of working remotely - and there are plenty that we’ll cover in this list - is taking a nap! If you’re feeling tired, unfocused or demotivated, you could always lie down and have a 15-20 minute power nap to recharge your batteries. When you wake up, you’ll be refreshed and ready to get back to work.
Just set up an alarm - you don’t want to oversleep - find a comfortable place (maybe you break room) and have a short power nap. This is something that would probably get you in trouble in an office environment, but they don’t apply to remote workers - so use your break time to re-energize!
- Go for a Walk
This doesn’t sound like the most creative solution, but think about it… When was the last time you went for a walk - alone? We rarely think of going out for a walk especially during work hours, so why not make it a part of your break time at home?
Take a short stroll around the block and use the time to clear your thoughts while keeping yourself active. If you want to simulate the feeling of going to and from work, you could take your walks before and after work hours, and in case you need socializing, you could always invite friends or co-workers to keep you company!
- Re-decorate Your Desk
Let your creative juices flow by redecorating your workstation. Remote workers know the struggle of finding a comfortable spot to work from, especially those who have transitioned from an office to a home environment. But once you do find it, you could use your break time to re-decorate it!
Cluttered work areas usually contribute to cluttered thoughts, so start by redecorating on a weekly basis and play around with it as you want!
You probably wouldn’t have thought of going to the gym or exercising during your break time if you worked in an office, right? And because of the logistics involved in going to the gym, taking a shower, and coming back to work - you’d be right to be horrified!
But that’s the beauty of remote work: your gym could be right next to your desk! Take out your mat, dumbbells, or just simply put on workout music and start sweating. The upside of all this - you’ll end up feeling fresh and energized, and you don’t even have to worry about going back to work sweaty! If you’d rather use your break time for something else, you could use the time it would take you to commute and exercise instead.
Meditation is known to help with stress, a cluttered brain, and lack of focus, so it’s the perfect break-time activity. There are tons of apps and sites out there that could help you with the basics of meditation and how to reach a state of mindfulness.
Meditating on a daily basis can help you calm your chatty brain, increase your focus, and lower your stress levels. Just find a peaceful spot, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. After a few seconds of controlling your breathing, you’ll instantly start to feel better.
- Cook Something
We often have no time to eat a well-balanced meal in the middle of work, so we usually eat it in front of the computer, with work thoughts still fluttering around in our minds. You have no time to enjoy your meal! The upside of working remotely is that you don’t have to rely on fast food or heating up a pre-made meal.
Take the time to cook yourself a well-balanced and nutritious meal and try not to eat it in front of the computer - unless you have a scheduled lunch on Cafecito, of course! If you have a family, you’d also be able to spend some quality time over lunch. Hey, you could even challenge yourself to find interesting recipes with under 30 minutes of prep time. And of course, for increased social interactions: share the recipes with fellow remote workers on Cafecito!
The Cafecito Challenge
Speaking of challenges, in true Cafecito fashion, we want to challenge you to come out of your comfort zone. Slowly but surely, we’d like to see you start to use your free time to learn new things and expand your possible match pool when you use Cafecito. Why not talk to someone who speaks another language?
That being said, this month’s challenge would be to choose a language that you’ve always wanted to learn, but never had the time to do it. You could also use your break time to learn a new word or two, so hop on Cafecito afterward and share your progress with other remote workers.
Do you have any other ideas on making the most out of your work time? We’d love to hear them!