Office Life

Articles related to life in an office environment. Includes workspaces and home offices.

7 Ways to Make Breaks More Meaningful

7 Ways to Make Breaks More Meaningful

Hint: It isn’t about being more productive!

In countries like the United States and Japan, productivity and “hard work” are core values in defining the success of individuals.  However, it is unrealistic to expect people to run constantly – we aren’t machines!

We all know taking breaks is important, but a break from work a few times a day may not be giving you the benefits you need (you know, a break). 

Those in office environments may fill a break getting coffee, standing around the water cooler, or even skip it altogether in favor of a conference call.  For those working from home, it wouldn’t be uncommon to find your break hijacked by household projects, or simply spent standing in front of an open refrigerator – wondering if you are hungry or not.

On the flip side, you may find yourself wanting to use your breaks “productively”.  Maybe you want to spend your lunch break running errands.  Or schedule appointments between two conference calls.  While this can feel productive, it doesn’t provide you with the break you need.

If you are starting to feel burnt out, or need to shake things up, here are a 7 ways to make your breaks more meaningful.

Take a Walk

The benefits of walking are immense.  Besides the physical health of this fat-burning exercise, walking increases good mental health. 

Walking also gives you an opportunity to walk away from your desk (and the work distractions). 

By walking outside you can get away from the fluorescent lights of an office or warehouse environment and enjoy the health benefits of sunshine.

Connect with a Co-Worker (Personally)

Building relationships with our colleagues can include getting to know someone personally.  While professionalism is encouraged, knowing your financial director has a child that just started college, or that your marketing admin is getting married this year, can help you form friendly bonds. 

Take a walking break with a co-worker and check-in with how they are doing.  As a result of getting to know your colleagues, you may find that you enjoy your work environment more and the team works better together.


Journaling is an awesome way to “talk out” things you are thinking or feeling and find a way to connect with yourself more.  Journaling can be used to organize your life (such as bullet journals), exploring yourself through “freewrites”, or jotting down reminders so you don’t lose track of thoughts.

Carry around a journal, or use a note-taking app like Evernote to log your thoughts.

Hang Out With Animal Companions

This is especially true for those who work at home.  Our four-legged friends need playtime and attention.  Take your 15-minutes to take your pup for a walk, tease the cat with a laser pointer, or brush the back of your turtle. 

You don’t need reasons to hang out with them – you already love them!

Complete a Simple Chore

Another item that is specifically relevant to those who work from home: chores!  To clarify, this about tackling home projects, or getting sucked into cleaning.  Any chores should be done in under 15 minutes.

If it isn’t about being productive, why spend your break doing a chore?
Gets you away from a computer screen and desk chair.  Sitting all day can take a toll on the body.  Completing a household chore forces you to move your body, even just a little bit.

Relieve stress at the end of the day. By having a chore done (or started) means less you are doing in the evening, freeing up your “free time” for more enjoyable activities such as spending time with family and friends.
Here are some examples of chores that would fit:

  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Start a load of laundry
  • Water your plants
  • Wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters
  • Vacuum one room

Text Your Mom

Or Aunt, Grandfather, or close friend.  Basically, take a few minutes to send a message in some form to someone you love and connect.  The best messages are the ones that are “just because” you are thinking of someone.  It doesn’t require a long phone conversation or an in depth email.  Just touch base.


This one can seem daunting because meditation can seem difficult.  That is why we recommend using an app on your phone to guide you through meditation.  Calm or Headspace both provide guidance for mindfulness that can help you get centered in just a few minutes. 

Whether you work from home or in an office, get away from your desk or workspace and find someplace quiet to relax. 

Any other ways you enjoy taking breaks?

Posted by Amanda Parsons in Career, Productivity, 0 comments