While focus is important during the day, too long spent in a focused state can start to backfire. Our mind naturally wanders when our energy levels dip. Our bodies start to crave movement and our attention falters. Micro breaks impose small interruptions in your focus to ease your body and reboot your brain.
- Try doing some desk stretches to reverse that computer hunch.
- Head outside and walk two laps around your block/building or get the same energizing effect by walking up and down a few flights of stairs.
- Go on a Zoom coffee chat with person you have been meaning to reach out to. You’ll get the break you need—plus some good catching up done.
- Need to make some phone calls? Step outside or walk around the room and do them while walking back and forth. The combination of movement and chatting will be a boost of energy before you head back to your desk.
- Take a quick, 15-minute nap, you’ll feel much more awake and ready to get back to the grind.
- Eat an energizing snack – try a handful of nuts and dried fruit, fresh fruit and nut or seed butter, whole grain crackers and string cheese, or berries and dark chocolate.
- Find some inspiring stories to read to get you motivated and excited. These TED Talks are a great place to start and will get you revved up to do just about anything.
- Send an email to your 10 closest friends/family members/ co-workers, asking for the best joke they’ve ever heard.
- Send a thank you note to someone who’s helped you out recently—your friend who’s gone above and beyond or a co-worker who proofread a paper for you. It doesn’t even have to be something big—in fact, bonus points if it’s not.
- See if a roommate or friend needs a break too and go grab a snack or have a phone walking chat/meeting. For bonus points, use the time to pick this person’s brain on something you’ve been thinking about whether it’s dealing with a difficult solution to something or just daily life.
- Spread some cheer and send a friend a funny e-card.
- Step outside and call your mom, dad, grandparent, sibling, or other family member just to say hi and see how the day is going. They’ll appreciate it!
RELAXING & SLEEP
- Wind down with a cup of herbal tea – chamomile tea is particularly calming.
- Stop consuming caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.
- Eat your evening meal at least 2 hours before bedtime to decrease risk of indigestion.
- Check out Lumosity: Free online exercises that are designed by neuroscientists to improve core cognitive functions, including memory, problem solving, and attention.
- Head over to your folders/piles and catch up on some of those articles you’ve been meaning to read. You’ll get a nice break—and maybe even learn something you can apply when you get back to school/working.
- Watch the seven to 10 minute opening sequence of a late night talk show from the night before for a quick news recap and a quick laugh.
- Keep a non-school/work book on hand to read from on short breaks. It’ll feel good to not stare at a computer screen for 15 minutes, and a good book can be totally inspiring.
- Write something! Crank out a blog post. Check out your list of topics to get you thinking, pen a short story about the happenings in your world, or hey, even get started on that novel/blog/post you’ve always wanted to write.
- Download the language learning app Duolingo and take a lesson or two. Even if you don’t remember much more than “Donde está la biblioteca?” from your high school Spanish class, the app will have you easily increasing your international vocabulary in just a couple minutes a day.
- Organize your smartphone. Take a few minutes to delete any apps you never use, Shift any apps you use daily to the front screen. And hey, why not update your background photo while you’re at it?
- Pick one project that’s on your plate, and do a 10-minute brainstorm on it. Grab a stack of Post-its and a marker, and let your brain get to business.
- It’s a good idea to update your online passwords every so often, and a slow afternoon is a great opportunity. Try not to use the same password for your email and social networks. Keep track of the new passwords using a tool like 1Password, PassPack, or Password Genie.
- Organize your drawers. Clear out old gum, dried pens, and anything else that you don’t need.
- Unsubscribe from 10 newsletters in your inbox. That daily deals newsletter you haven’t actually read in six months? Get it out of there. Anything you haven’t read in a month or more? You probably don’t need to be getting it every day.
DOWN RIGHT DISTRACTING
- Listen to a humorous podcast you enjoy.
- Play games with friends via smartphone game or trivia apps.