One of the perks of working remotely is the fact that you are in the place where you are most comfortable—your own home. Perks aside, taking breaks when working from home—at least for me—can be kind of confusing. When I was hired at Isos Technology (where I work remotely five days a week), I developed some weird break habits that lacked structure. After a while, taking these kind of breaks like left me returning to work not feeling fully "broken" (maybe "restored" is a better word?). In all seriousness, this was a struggle for me, so I spent time figuring out how to structure my breaks, spend more time being properly "broken," and rest and prepare for work when I return.
I've compiled some tips that work for me personally, and I hope they will work for you, too. Bear in mind, everybody is different. Maybe if you focus on these high-level ideas, you can substitute activities or practices that work better for you.
Be Productive, But Not with Work
We all have tasks that need to get done around the house, and working remotely provides some rather unorthodox ways to complete these tasks. For instance, when I decide to take a break, I will often try to get laundry or cleaning done. Although I'm supposed to be resting, getting housework done during my daily work block leaves me more free time at the end of the day, and it makes me feel more accomplished.
I am admittedly addicted to YouTube. I watch videos on everything from science and engineering to cars and news. I know a lot of people are tempted to leave videos on in the background while they're working, but I like to schedule time to consume content. I often get on YouTube in the morning and look for videos that I want to check out. Then, I add these videos to my 'Watch Later' playlist. That way, I know that—at some point during my workday—I can take 15 minutes, watch a quick video or two, return to work with a fresh mindset, and get back to being productive.
Plan Lunch Based on What's Going On
Taking lunch while working remotely can be a different scenario every day. Some days, I cook up something something easy at home and either eat my food quickly to return to work, or consume it while working if I'm really busy. Other days, I may meet a friend for lunch. I often make the call based on my progress at work when lunch comes, and what my plans are for later in the day. If I know that I'm busting through my tickets quickly and making good progress, I'll often choose to take a longer lunch break. But if I have plans later in the day, or I'm running behind at work, I'll often choose to take a shorter break and get back to work quickly.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
When I first started at Isos Technology, I really had no idea what to do with all of the freedom that comes with a remote work format. But over time, I came to understand that familiar saying, "With great power comes great responsibility." This has forced me to make better decisions, especially with respect to taking breaks. Eventually, I started asking myself the question: "Will doing X, Y, and Z on break help me either professionally or personally, or will it make my day less productive, in general?" Asking myself this question has helped me come up with the tips above. I firmly believe that as a remote worker, you need to make sure you micromanage yourself and your habits.