Breaks are an essential part of a work schedule.
Whether you’re working at an oil rig or for an IT company, breakfast, lunch, and coffee breaks represent a sacred room for rest, reflection, and nourishment. And potentially many other things, it turns out!
During a break, you can have some quiet time for yourself, engage in lively discussions with your colleagues, and foster a convivial workplace culture that will lead your team down the path of creativity, productivity, and many other ‘ivities’ that signify a positive swing toward progress.
In this article, we’re going to talk about coffee breaks, in particular. This short space of time gives us room to refill our batteries and reenergize for the remainder of the workday.
Now, although a coffee break may not look like enough time to do something cohesive and meaningful, there are still many interesting wee undertakings you can take up during this time that will make your life easier or more colorful while at work.
So, to help kick start your imagination, we’ve devised this list of fifteen entries where we will give you tips on how to spend your precious coffee break time! (Other than drinking coffee, obviously.)
Without further ado, here’s what we’ve prepared for you.
1) Relax and Declutter Your Brain
This one’s a no-brainer, pretty much.
If you’ve just spent a couple of hours figuring out how to write a proposal or cut a large sheet of expensive metal but in such a way as to prevent unnecessary waste, the best thing to do during a coffee break is simply to stand back a minute and relax.
So, make your trip to one of the commercial coffee machines installed in your office and grab a cup of your favorite beverage. Coffee in your hand, you can sit down and stare into the distance, look at the sky, or otherwise play a game on your phone.
You can also simply pace about for a couple of minutes and inspect your surroundings. Whatever floats your boat in the relaxation department, so to speak!
2) Talk to Your Colleagues
Sometimes all we need to restore our spirits and improve our mood is a friendly conversation.
A coffee break is a perfect opportunity to socialize with your colleagues. Whether it’s telling a couple of jokes you’ve heard recently or exchanging your political views, the people with whom you share your workplace can be excellent chat partners.
Us humans are social animals, so any sort of environment where people are talking to each other and engage in some friendly banter is a place where a good atmosphere can be established – even if you end up disagreeing with someone on certain topics!
(Our recommendation is to keep it lighthearted, though. Very few people actually enjoy listening about Henry Kissinger at 9 AM.)
3) Take a Stroll
Physical activity, in general, is a great way to break the tedium and stress of doing a repetitive task for a couple of hours.
Indeed, even if it’s some highly creative type of work you’re doing, taking a stroll every once in a while during your workday can significantly alleviate the symptoms of boredom that are bound to pop up here and there.
4) Tidy Up Your Work Environment
This would fall into the category of killing two birds with one stone.
The thing is, when we’re stressed out and busy trying to get some work done and get it done on time, we tend to neglect the general arrangement of items on our desk, beside our chair, or generally – in our immediate vicinity.
Clutter, in general, makes a bored person even more demoralized because it creates a sense of chaos and a certain loss of control.
Thus, cleaning up your desk, emptying the trash bin, or simply getting rid of the wrinkled paper and pen caps in your drawers can not only keep you occupied during a coffee break, but also give you a sense of relief and accomplishment that is crucial for your productivity later on during your work day!
5) Do Some Light Exercise
While performing elaborate gladiator-bound exercises for your bicep and inner thighs may not be really possible to pull off during a coffee break, there’s certainly enough room to squeeze in some stretching and perhaps a couple of push-ups.
Most core exercises don’t really require any equipment, so you don’t need to obsess over bringing weights and boxing gloves to work in order to stay fit.
A short burst of push-ups combined with some squats is all you need to reenergize and shake yourself from a cubicle-induced mental slumber.
What’s more, an increasing number of companies nowadays installs workout machines in their workplace, so consult your managers and other superiors to learn more. Perhaps there’s already some workplace exercise routine in place you aren’t even aware of!
6) Take a Nap
A power-restoring nap can do wonders for rebooting a bored and stressed-out mind.
Depending on how long your coffee break is, you can pair up your ritual consumption of coffee with a brief nap and thus maximize the refreshing results for the remainder of your workday.
For example, if your break is 15 minutes, you can go get your coffee, set a timer, have a short nap, wake up, have the coffee and feel like a million bucks. In cash!
(This can work great unless you’re an actor working on a Tarantino film set. He’s notorious for exacting cruel and unusual punishment for the actors who take naps during his shoots. Beware of Big Jerry!)
7) Have a Quick Snack
Sometimes it just so happens that you sleep in, wake up at a minute to twelve, and then rush to work having had naught for breakfast.
Well, if this set of unfortunate circumstances happens to you, here’s an idea – have your breakfast during the coffee break. And then you can slowly sip the coffee later on!
Even if you did have your breakfast, work can at times be particularly draining and demanding, so by the time you’ve reached the coffee break checkpoint, you may be completely famished all anew. A quick snack can quickly restore your energy levels and make you work twice as efficiently as a result.
8) Learn a New Language
Here’s a fun one!
How many times you’ve seen a French film and thought to yourself – ‘Darn it, I wish I knew French!’.
Well, guess what – a language ain’t going to learn itself, so why not use your coffee break to jump aboard the bandwagon of polyglotism and joy?
There are many iPhone and computer apps nowadays, that can help you with this, so you don’t need to worry about preparing elaborate materials to start things off. Just download one of them, set your daily goal, et voila!
9) Declutter Your Phone
Speaking of the devil, while in the process of downloading an app for learning a new language, you might notice that your phone memory is full. Brim-filled no doubt with all sorts of small programs and pictures of your pets you no longer need.
A great way to spend your coffee break would be to start deleting unnecessary files from your phone. This way, by the end of the break, you will have not only averted your brain from strenuous work but also decluttered your poor phone of junk.
10) Organize Your Computer
Meaning the files on your computer.
Similarly to our phones, our computers can become a virtual place where things can get pretty messy, pretty quick.
It only takes one a couple of hectic days at the office in a row, and you’ll find yourself making phone calls left and right, copying and pasting various files on your Desktop for easy access and forgetting to delete copies upon copies you’ve made in a spur of the moment.
So, while you’re sipping your coffee, put that computer mouse to good use and move some junk files in the recycle bin!
11) Write a New Diary Entry
If you often practice recording your thoughts and feelings in the form of a written log, a coffee break can present a perfect opportunity to put pen to paper once again.
You can write about your experiences at work, predictions about an upcoming football game, or some sort of creative story – it’s entirely up to you and that’s the beauty of it.
12) Watch a Video Online
After you’ve completed the first part of your day’s work assignment, watching a funny or informative video online may be a great stress-relieving move.
Whether it’s a new entry made by your favorite Youtuber, or an instruction video on how to make a layered cake (even though you don’t really intend to make a layered cake), a bit of lighthearted content every now and again can lift anyone’s mood.
13) Call Your Friends and Family
This one especially goes for people who work away from their friends and family – perhaps away in a different city or a country.
Once the coffee break starts – grab your macchiato, cappuccino, or whatever your favorite type is, and ring someone you care about for a quick conversation! An instant mood lifter, for sure.
14) Read (A Book)
And by ‘reading a book’, we mean you should read a book that’s not related to your job.
Short stories and novels are immersive enough to take you away from the stress and pressure of work, so even ten or fifteen minutes can be enough to brighten up your day.
(By the way, we don’t recommend short stories actually, because they’re supposed to be read in one sitting. A novel with plenty of chapters should do fine.)
15) Create a Playlist
Organizing all of your favorite songs and artists into cohesive ‘replayable’ units has always been an activity of sheer genteel and lofty excellence.
A coffee pause offers some room where you can work on listing and categorizing the music you love into glorious playlists you can enjoy later on!
In conclusion, a coffee break is a chance for you to do your own thing in an environment where you’re supposed to tend to professional matters. If you use it wisely, you can not only succeed in making your main work seem more likable and easy to do, but also tidy up messy desks, relax and enjoy the nature, connect to your loved ones, and even culture yourself!