How to avoid the pitfalls of THE SNACK BREAK
It seems innocent enough.
It's 11 a.m. Your ass has been in that desk chair since you shooed the family out the door at 7:15.
You got up and stretched a couple times, and followed that recommendation to look away from the computer monitor every hour so your eyeballs don't ignite, and you tore through your to-do list like a champion.
You're getting hungry, and the dog needs to pee.
TIME FOR A LITTLE FIVE MINUTE TRIP TO THE KITCHEN!!
Annnddd.......next thing you know, it's ALMOST 2 PM.
You are no longer hungry even though you technically didn't have lunch, because instead you ate 3 'portion control' snack bags of Doritos while getting lost in Facebook drama on your phone. You also took a load of laundry out of the dryer AND FOLDED IT ( ! ), and while you were putting the laundry bin in your kids room you noticed a stack of papers that looked important and started going through those and HOLY CRAP THIS WAS DUE LAST WEEK ... then you scrolled your Instagram feed and returned a phone call from your best friend and heard all about what her jerk boss did yesterday ...
....and did you ever let the dog out to pee?
YOU. HAVE. NO. IDEA.
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What happened here?
YOU TOOK A SNACK BREAK.
And when you did that, you turned off the 'work at home' persona - because you were in your own cozy kitchen at home - and it can be very, very hard to turn it back on.
Sometimes, the seemingly innocuous Snack Break can be like letting your inner kid loose in a candy store.
Your work ethic goes off chasing the ice cream truck, you're distracted all over the place and it's hard to get back on track.
Here's the thing - when you're working at home, even breaks require a certain degree of mindfulness.
It's just a break, you're not done for the day.
Yes, you should let the dog out to pee. Go out and throw the ball or tug with him, breathe some fresh air.
But doing laundry and organizing your kids room is not on the break agenda, my home office friend!
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So how do you prevent getting derailed by your necessary, important breaks?
1. PLAN YOUR BREAKS
I know, one of the amazing perks of working at home - right up there with no commute and working in your jammies if you want to - is that you can take a break when you damn well please. When you work in an office that's a luxury you might not have. But it's likely you still need some guidelines.
Maybe you like to take breaks at the end of a task, rather than at a set time of day. That's cool, I do that sometimes too.
But figure it out because
"once I finish x and y and z on my list, I'm going to take a lunch break"
is way different from
"ugh I don't want to work on xyz, hey I think I need a break!"
2. SET A TIMER
Whenever my break starts, I set a timer. My 'quick' breaks are 15 minutes to pee, let the puppers out for same, and play a few turns of Scrabble against my husband (we have about 20 games going at any given time :D ). My longer breaks are 45 minutes and I'll grab something to eat while I read a few chapters in a book.
I'm almost ALWAYS jolted by that timer going off - I lost track of time without even realizing it - and need that little reminder that playtime is over.
3. BE SELFISH
Yup, this time away from work is for YOU (and your dog or cat or ferret or whatever).
- Go outside for a few minutes.
- Play Candy Crush or whatever your smartphone poison might be.
- Have that snack.
- Paint your nails.
- Dance in your kitchen.
- Watch half a Netflix show.
I'm not judging here - you do whatever makes you happy and REFRESHES YOU so you can go back to work with renewed energy.
It's tempting to use your break as 'found moments' to get shit done, but that's not what this time is for. Doing laundry or paying bills or scrubbing the bathroom doesn't give your brain the same effect as relaxing!
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WHAT WORKS FOR YOU?
Tell me your best destressing break activities!