31 Ideas for 5-Minute Breaks To Maximise Your Productivity
Breaks save lives
OK fine, that’s over the top.
BUT did you know that breaks are essential for productivity?
Did you know these great reasons to take a break?
- A physical break to get your body moving can reduce the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time at a desk or laptop.
- A break helps prevent ‘decision-fatigue’ basically meaning you are better and quicker at making decisions when you have taken a break from your work.
- Breaks increase productivity and efficiency. A period of focused work along with short and longer breaks have been shown to be one of the best ways to maximise your productivity.
I swear by the Pomodoro technique when it comes to periods of focused work. It’s a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s.
This is how to use it:
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the Pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
- Work on the task.
- End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
- If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes)
- After four Pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1. I use this timer to help me make sure I take breaks and don’t go too much over break time!
But how do you fill those 5-minute breaks? Here are 30 ideas to give you a quick break after your focused period of work.
Treat them like a treat! Enjoy them and you’ll convince your brain that you love focused work.
31 Ideas for 5-Minute Breaks
If you’re at home
Working from home can be so distracting, but it also has the perks of being able to do these great break ideas.
- Put on some happy music and do a funny dance – think Phoebe running style.
- Open a door or window and take some deep breaths. Feel grass under your feet. Pick a flower. What can you see, smell and hear?
- Make a cup of tea! Don’t do this every 5-minute break thoughor you’ll be buzzing.
- Have a look in the fridge to have a think about what you’re going to make for dinner. Plan out your meal for lunch or for the evening.
- Grab a snack. Blueberries and nuts could help increase your focus! Dark chocolate too. Shh.
- Run your hands and wrists under cool water, and wash them with some lovely smelling soap.
- Top up a water bottle. Add ice and/or some slices of fruit.
If you love scrolling through social media, there’s no reason you can’t. Just make sure you limit yourself so you don’t spend hours on there for pointless reasons! This is where the timer comes in useful.
- Post something on Twitter
- Scroll on Instagram. Don’t forget to double-tap. Might as well.
- Visit your favourite Facebook group. Make sure you pin your favourite and most useful Facebook groups to the left-hand side to make them super easy to find.
- Is there a regular sharing thread in one of those groups? Share your link or win or message there.
- Love Pinterest? Get in there. Pin 5 pins.
- Head to Youtube and watch a music video you love!
Moving our bodies is so beneficial. Physical exercise actually makes our brains work better.What?? And how comfortable we are, often determines how well we can work.
- Have a wee. You know you’ve been holding it for too long!
- Dance around! Try this playlist.
- Do 10 x jumping jacks, 10 x squats or 20 x sit-ups.
- Stretch out your body at your desk. Try this tutorial.
- Do a quick body check. Are you warm enough? Too hot? Is your chair uncomfy? Get yourself comfortable.
- Do a short meditation. The Calm app, or Headspace are great for this.
Got a load of things you want to watch, read or listen to? Whenever you find something you want to watch, bookmark it or save it to a Trello board so that you know what to watch when you have your 5-minute break.
- Watch an educational YouTube video.
- Read a few pages of a book. A great idea if you want to read more but struggle to find the time!
- Find that newsletter/blog post/message you wanted to read
- Research a skill that you want to learn, or something you’ve been trying to figure out.
Want to double up on the productivity? Do these little tasks. Just don’t get distracted. You might not find these as fun, so make sure you use with caution!
- Those ideas you had while you were working. Get them on your list, sort by ‘do now’ ‘do one day’ ‘delegate’ or ‘bin it’
- Do a little walk around the home. Grab any empty mugs or glasses or plates that are lying around and take them to the sink. Don’t get distracted.
- Put on a load of laundry. Don’t do it all. Just one load.
- Take out washed laundry, and hang it or put it in the tumble dryer.
- Take ten things from upstairs that should be downstairs and put them where they should go. Or vice versa.
- Respond to messages or texts, or check your alerts.
- Call your Mum back!