Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in your work that the next time you look at the clock you realize the entire day has gone by and you haven’t even moved from your chair? It is pretty common for remote workers, particularly developers, to become engrossed in their work and forget to take breaks. Developers have a compulsion for problem solving and have a hard time pulling away from an unfinished task. It should go without saying that this sort of fixation can become unhealthy, especially when it keeps you from eating or using the restroom.
When going into an office to work, you probably got mini breaks in the form of interactions with your other colleagues at the office. Someone tells a story about their weekend and several minutes go by in conversation. These sorts of interactions are distractions, sure, but they are also little breaks -ones you don’t get when you work from home. When you work remotely you must create your own breaks.
Taking a break is not a waste of time. It gives your brain a chance to recharge and tackle problems from a new perspective. Getting up and moving around will get your blood flowing and wake you up as well. If you have trouble knowing when to take a break, try the Pomodoro Technique. To use this technique, you set a timer for a duration (traditionally 25 minutes) in which you will concentrate on working. Then take a five minute break. After four sets of these, take a 20 minute break. Proponents of the Pomodoro Technique will tell you how much more productive they are now that they force breaks upon themselves.
Employees who don’t take breaks burn out. Becoming burned out doesn’t always cause someone to have a complete breakdown. Getting just a little burned out can be enough to become less valuable, less productive, and have less job satisfaction than you would otherwise.
For this reason, we encourage our developers to set their own goals. The developers work with their customers to determine what features should be worked on each iteration. This is so the customer has control of the direction of their project and the developer can set their own commitments.
Metova has 10 holidays spread throughout the year when the office is officially closed. During these days, Metova developers are commanded to avoid working and take a break. This aides in giving everyone, including those who stockpile PTO like gold, a moment to relax and prevent burnout.
What do you do to ensure you take breaks and prevent burnout?