How often should you take a break when working from home?

Thomas Deneulin
25 replies
Hey folks, With the covid crisis, I've been working remotely for the last 6 months. At first it was nice not having to go to the office anymore, but I have to admit that I'm starting to lose my mind. How do you manage your breaks?


Myka Javier
I have had the very same thought the other week. I started feeling burnout so I started to really look into my work routine, wondering why I feel that way. So I tried to track how much time I take on each task that I do every day using the Pomodoro Method (I used this app called Pomofocus), and I noticed that I didn't take breaks at all except for lunch! I just kept going and going while working from home, as opposed to being at the office when I would take breaks. Now, with that app, it prompts me to take a short or long break, and I have to actively do so.
Rianna Dearden
@msmykajavier I second this. I love the Pomodoro Method. I haven't tried that app, but will definitely give it a go. Up until now I have just been using timers on my phone. I first came across Pomodoro years ago when I worked in a very boring data entry job, and I needed it just to keep me going. Stopped using it so much since having a job that I love, but I was recently reminded about it by my physiotherapist! Having neck problems, he recommended I use the Pomodoro method to get up and change position every 45 minutes. In turn, I then noticed my productivity increased and my feeling of edging towards burnout decrease.
Aaron O'Leary
I do it based on tasks, I have a number of different tasks I must do each day, so after each one, I have a coffee break and I have one normal break through-out the day
I never take a break but taking a little break every two hours is necessary or having at least a lunch break is good too. I always end up being too focused on my work that I always forget to take a little break, so setting a reminder might be a good idea (I never actually do that tho).
Dan Kabakov
Great question. Working at home could make you more productive but we always need to be cautious not to overwork ourselves. This could bring damage to us, our work, our family and friends. Feel free to take a short breaks from time to time. Take lunch break very seriously. You can call your friend or even a work colleague and ask how are they doing. From my personal experience working 3 years from home there are few things that could help: 1. Dress up properly when starting to work as you are going to the real office. 2. Take breaks from time to time. Little exercise activities and meditation could go a long way. 3. After the working hours, try to do some interesting activities and hobbies that will help you forget work-related worries. Remember that in the end your health is the most important thing. Good luck!
Bill Flitter
I take frequent breaks to rest the eyes as well as stretch. I use an app on my Mac called TimeOut ( to track it. It will dim my screen and show a timer for how long the break is. 1. Break every hour for 5 min 2. Every 15 minutes for 15 seconds For me it works. I don't feel so drained at the end of the day. -Bill
Lisa Canning
@billflitter I have the hardest time remembering to take a break. Before I know it 1/2 the day is gone and I have not moved an inch! I need to set a timer and get up and walk around.
Bill Flitter
@lisa_canning I hear you! That's why I had to get the timer as a reminder to get up, look away and take a break.
Rishabh Jain
@billflitter @lisa_canning I have created an app which helps remind users when to take a break and what to do in those breaks. Do check it out! It's named Woodpecker: Take a Break
I think it varies depending on the work you do. If it's task-based, break it up between tasks. If it's one long project, give yourself set "breaking hours". Ultimately, while working from home I've found that taking a nice real lunch break has always been beneficial. I feel as long as you're being productive, crushing your goals, and being innovative you can afford to take a couple of breaks per day.
Andreea Bunica
struggling so hard with this! especially that I'm a solo hard-tech startup founder, it is maddening! if you guys have any cool communities suggestions or whatnot, please send them my way, the blog post I'm writing for my startups' blog this week is centred around tools/ communities to do exactly that- stay sane.
Rishabh Jain
@andreea_bunica Not sure if relevant, so please forgive me if it's a spam I have created an app which helps remind users when to take a break and what to do in those breaks. Do check it out! It's named Woodpecker: Take a Break
Calvin Cheng
Hey @andreea_bunica Please do check out our product StretchMinder which helps you to take effective work breaks throughout your workday! We also just posted our first blog post: This guide covers everything you need to know about how to get the most out of your work breaks. Maybe you can find it useful as a resource for your blog post. Cheers!
Benoit Chambon
Depends on my level of concentration. I try to maximise this level by changing tasks very regularly. Most of the time, I spend between 1 and 2 hours maximum per task, with a short 3 to 5 minutes break between each task. :)
Matthew Johnson
I use a timer and set it for 60 minutes, then take a 15 minute break. I used to do 52 mins/17 min as that has been apparently scientifically shown to be the routine of the most productive people. Actually, I'll probably go back to that as I've found my productivity dipping a bit recently.
Katya Veremeichik
I personally have realized that unless I'm in a deep workflow state, i need a break every 2 hours. When learning something new - every 45 min. At least a 10 minute break is revitalizing for brain. Also, it's important to have a good life-work balance and not let yourself check work email after you've gone afk. Otherwise your brain stays in a "work mode" even after hours and you basically don't rest.
Sanaz Bidad
If you truly want to become successful then it is essential that you master the skill of effective time management and learn to gain complete control of how you spend every moment of your day.
Elijah Walker
It doesn't matter for me that I am at home or at the office. I prefer to work as an office at home where I have fix office timings and fix breaks. It helps me to balance my personal and professional life.
Rikki Hillenbrand
I usually try to take a good breather break every hour for a few minutes, if I am not caught up in an important task. On top of that, if I am sitting while working, I try to just get up every 20 min for about 30 secs to shake out my body, stretch and take a few steps. This has been working wonders for my concentration and focus!
Douglas Johnson
I feel extremely blessed to have purchased a home on the coast of Maine a couple months ago. I look up every hour or so at the water and take some breaths and then I'm at it. But, I find myself more keen to "shut it down" at 3p than I did when I was in an office. Back then I would power through until 6 and then go to the gym. I'm still working through this and I don't know the answer, but I know that I would go nuts if I was in my apt back home all the time. Even then, I have a small office that I share with colleagues and would go to.
Ikenna Paschal
I know very well that I am less productive when I go without break but I can't get myself to stop. I am currently at that stage where there is a lot at the stage and everything can go just wrong so naturally feel huge anxiety if I am away for 5 minutes. I know I need one, but I can't get myself to take one.
Calvin Cheng
Being extremely busy, which I'm sure most of us here are. It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to put the pedal to the floor and just work non-stop to get things done. In fact, our focus, energy, and motivation moves in "waves" known as the Productivity Cycle. Understanding this and following this pattern of work and rest, we can get the most out of our peak states. Research shows that taking the wrong type of breaks could actually increase fatigue and steal your productivity, such as mindless snacking, online shopping, and mindlessly scrolling on social media. To reap the maximum benefits of a break, you need to give your brain a chance to relax and your body a chance to recharge. We just published a blog post about how to take breaks with actionable step-by-step instructions on how to get started: Hope this helps!
Nick Bess
When I started working remotely, I was hard for me to self-organize. I just forgot to take breaks. I should say, it led to back issues pretty fast. Now I take a break at least every two hours.
Alexia Gold
@nick_bess I feel you. I stopped going to the gym and started sitting much more when the pandemic began. And also started experiencing lower back pain. There were days when I couldn't finish my daily tasks without taking Canadian Pharmacy painkillers. It was high time for changes. I started doing yoga which helped me a lot. And of course, regular breaks are essential. Also, since the restrictions were weakened, I go to the pool every weekend. Swimming works great for my back.