As the queen of leaving projects to the last minute, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to settle in for the long haul without losing my mind. I think we’ve all been there. (Especially if you’re someone who enjoys working under pressure.) The rest of life got in the way in the weeks leading up to a deadline, and you find yourself chained to your laptop with a marathon’s worth of work to tackle.
My secret to making it out unscathed? Meaningful breaks.
Choose an amount of time (like 45 minutes to an hour), set a timer, and start ticking things off the to-do list without stopping. Then, when the time is up TAKE A BREAK (like for 15-30 minutes).
Below, I’ve listed 14 meaningful breaks that I find helpful to cycle through as I hammer away on a project.
Take a shower.
This is especially helpful if you didn’t get a lot of great rest. Showers are like liquid sleep! Use a body wash like this one and breathe in deep. Massage your scalp as you lather up your hair. Get that blood flowing to your brain!
Fill up your water bottle.
Gotta stay hydrated! Fill up your favorite vessel and take time to drink as much as you like as you stare into space. Feelin’ fancy? Add some fruit or cucumbers or herbs and get a lil infusion action going.
Watch a YouTube video.
Sometimes you just need to switch your brain off for a few minutes. But turning on the TV or firing up Netflix may distract to the point of disaster. YouTube to the rescue! There’s a zillion different kinds of content to choose from (Cats! Makeup tutorials! Hydraulic press! Cooking miniature meals!) and most are a reasonable length. Go nuts for 10-15 minutes and then switch that brain back on.
Make a list of the day’s accomplishments.
I’ve mentioned this before, but a “shit I’ve already done list” can sometimes quell the panic of a seemingly insurmountable “shit I still need to do list.”
Eat a snack.
Go fix yourself something healthy to eat!
Love on your pet.
Taking care of someone else for a few minutes is a great way to snap out of it if you’re feeling like EVERYTHING IS THE WORST. So if you have a pet, go make sure they have food and fresh water. Take them outside to run or toss around a toy. Get out their brush for a lil grooming sesh. Give them lots of pets.
Head to your closet for a costume change.
I like to capitalize on the surge of productivity I feel as soon as I wake up…which usually means I’m in pj’s and then *whoops* several hours have gone by. So a simple costume change if you’re in my boat is to just go get dressed. But you can also change from your everyday clothes to workout clothes if you plan on working out later. Change from uncomfortable clothes to comfy ones. Or switch it up for a change of pace in the aesthetics department.
Handle a “personal admin” task.
You can’t press pause on life because you’re under a deadline. Reply to an email. Pay your phone bill. Grab groceries. Schedule that dentist appointment. You get the drift.
Work up a sweat.
One time, during a looooong (and boring) day of work-from-home projects, I did 10 push-ups/10 sit-ups/10 squats during every break. Not only did the time FLY by…but I was sore as heck the next day. Ha! For a less crazy approach, go for a jog outside or queue up a 30 min HIIT workout on YouTube. Roll out your yoga mat and stretch out.
Have a solo dance party.
Put on your favorite song and jam like no one’s watching. Because they aren’t. Repeat until you’re sufficiently pumped.
Tidy up a little.
Just like with the “personal admin” tasks, tackling a quick chore or two will feel like you’re accomplishing something…even when your BIG accomplishment for the day is hours away. I like to do the dishes or make my bed. (Which also helps to make your space feel more productive.)
Chat with another human being.
Working on a project solo can start to feel really isolating. Pick up the phone and catch up with a friend or meet a friend for a quick cup of coffee.
Switch up your surroundings.
Usually if I feel like I’ve hit a plateau, it’s time to pack up and head somewhere new. It’s amazing the second wind you can achieve just by heading to a second location!
Go for a walk.
Fresh air! Natural light! Even if you only circle the block, you might just have that break-through “A-HA!” moment once your legs are pumping and your mind is allowed to wander a little.
Over to you! What are your favorite ways to take meaningful breaks in the midst of a marathon work sesh? Share below!! xoxo