Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Taking a break: what works for you?

Some of us have been chatting about this. How it's hard to know when it's right to take a break, or when it's goofing off.. and what kinds of break serve recovery. So here's a place to share thoughts about that.


Thanks, y'all, for being here. 


There's sleep... necessary and good 

and there's resting while aware...

Constructive vs. destructive breaks

For me, it often makes a difference what I do while taking a break.  It's easy to default to doing avoidant things (like surfing the net) but I find breaks more effective if I spend them doing something that will really replenish me (like meditating or exercising,) or doing something I enjoy (like practicing music.) 

I have to remember to think "what kind of break would actually feel good" rather than just dashing for the first escape that comes to mind.


Progress not perfection

JP Morgan said I can do a yr's work in ten months buit not 12.    In other words,  breaks and replesnishment are normal and necessary  - and no one would call him lazy.   We tend to think the goal is to use ALL our time in Porductive (read making money) activities, at least that is the message we get from the world.  NOT TRUE.  Music is important time with children is important etc.  Speaking to you but talking to myself.  (See the 7 habits of highly effective people - "sharpen the saw" is one of the 7 habits)

great point... any ideason work to break ratio

I think this is a really great point... to be aware of whether you are doing something that is building yourself up on your break or escaping, avoiding, hiding...

I need to figure out the right balance - of what is actually normal - break time, work time, and even just rest/mindless time to watch tv or something like that. I guess that is something one should know naturally, but I don't think I do or ever have. I always have overworked and been out of balance until I burned myself out and then avoided everything out of sheer exhaustion trying to maintain the unrealistic life I had been living...

I related so much to this site and the revelation of procrastination is avoidance is addiction. Finally it makes sense. I can deal with it as an addiction! Because I was never really lazy or unorganized, just avoiding... I really think I am at the place of needing a real plan though in the area of breaks, to know what is normal so I can have a goal to work towards...

Anyone have any thoughts or insights... feels like being a baby learning to walk again.

Ideas on work/break ratio

byGodsGrace, this is a really interesting question!  I'm glad you raised it; it's giving me an opportunity to think more consciously about this.

Here are some of the factors I try to consider when planning work & breaks:

  • Physical needs.  I need a lot of sleep -- 8 hours is minimum for me, and 9 or 10 is better.  Also, I need exericise, especially to fight depression in the winter.  If I'm feeling down, it's often better to exercise first, then take a break (or take an active break like going for a walk.)
  • Psychological needs.  I'm an introvert, so socializing (even when fun) drains my energy & I need solitary down time to recharge.  A more extroverted person might have the opposite -- a need to recharge with people contact after working alone.
  • The kind of work & concentration it requires.  If I'm doing mindless chores, I like to take lots of little breaks, esp. by doing the (10 + 2) x 5 hack.*  But for something that takes concentrated thought, it's better to schedule a chunk of uninterrupted time followed by a longer break to revive the brain. 
  • What is actually going to be productive in the long run?  Sometimes if I'm stressed, it's better not to try to work but just to focus on recovering (nap, exercise, meditate, etc.) knowing that until I've taken enough down time to recover from the stress, I'm just going to be fighting myself & procrastinating anyway.  That takes a lot of trust in myself that once I'm recovered, I will get back to work.

*Here is the (10 + 2) x 5 hack for anyone interested:


Taking breaks learning process

I'm not sure knowing the healthiest way to take breaks really does come naturally.  Even for non-procrastinators, I think it's a learning process that involves trial & error.  

First-year college students, for example, rarely have a good sense of balance, and end up doing all-night partying followed by all-nighters to cram for exams (and drinking a lot of coffee to get through the day!)  Over the next year or two they learn what works.

I was lucky in college because I had friends who were sophomores and who were good students!  So I modeled myself on them & took breaks when they did. 


Thanks falcon for work/break ideas!

Both your posts have been a great help to me Falcon thanks so much! I'm sure they will help others as well.

It is very good to remember that it is a learning process that all must learn and that helps me not feel quite so alien! I do think my feeling a bit lost in this comes from completely skipping some of the basic balance and self-aware/self-care things that many get early. But maybe not, as you say there is that learning curve in college life... 

In reading your list of what you need to be effective and work best it makes me very aware of my root issue that I need to deal with which is self awareness and care. I actually avoid myself, or things that help myself! As I start facing all of this I will learn to be kind to myself and stop wanting to avoid the issue. I don't know if this even makes sense! Just trying to say, I am very inspired by your awareness of yourself and what you need to be successful and am encouraged to find what I need to do the same!

Also thank you so much for the link on 10/5/2 - I can put that to use today! :-)

Great discussion about breaks!

This is something that I struggle with on a daily basis.   I tend to deny myself breaks because I feel that I haven't worked hard enough to deserve one.   then I feel that my life is all work and no play, which leads to resistance, which leads to procrastination, and I end up goofing off MORE than I would if I just allowed myself a reasonable break. 

I work better if I schedule 15 min. breaks throughout the day and take them WHETHER I DESERVE THEM OR NOT.  I still feel guilty about taking a planned break because I never feel that I have earned it.   I have to remind myself that it's an important part of my productivity plan to take my planned breaks. 

Coming back from breaks is another issue, a break can turn into procrastination.  I set a timer for my break, but sometimes I ignore it!  :blush: just as sometimes I still deny myself the breaks.   

my $0.02 worth! 


"Time is what keeps everything from happening at once." - Johnathan Wheeler


I picked up Mallinger's "Too Perfect" book yesterday and loved the list of obsessive personality traits.  One of which was something like: worries about whether he/she is being productive enough, getting enough done.  That's me.  I feel like if I take a break I'm not being productive, that I "should" be doing something else.

And yet, I know that a better goal would be simply using my time appropriately, according to God's will.  Doing the next right thing all through the day.  And I am certain that God's will is for me to take time for self-care so that I can continue to be there for my family, take care of my duties, be of maximum service to God and others.

But - it's hard for me to know how much time is appropriate for a break.  It can be hard to motivate myself to stop "breaking" and get back to "working".

This is a really helpful conversation, thanks for starting this thread!



Meditation works for me. I am able to Calm my mind, and clear it of many thoughts. After meditation, I am able to concentrate many times better, and I feel like I have the energy for the task, as If I just woke up (But I don't doze while I meditate.)

I do a Mantra Meditation. 

For anyone whom never tried Meditation, but think they know what it's about: You will never feel/get the benefits until you actually do it. I highly recommend it. 


i dont think i have gotten to the point where i can take a guilt-free break. I'm looking forward to that day.

but i have started viewing my work in 1 hr chunks, instead of all day. I take a break every hour to listen to a song about god that inspires me. Music really ministers to my soul, and i am so grateful this works for me. I assume ppl are different in this area.

Also, every 15 min my timer goes off and i step back and re-assess what's going on. This has pulled me back from distractions, and helped me to prevent binging.

These habits are only 1 month old, tho, so i'm not sure if i kno their long-term effect on me, if any, yet.

Thanks for starting this topic, chickadee

the touch of the master's hand:

"fall down seven times, get up eight" - japanese proverb

Does your timer go off

Does your timer go off during the one hour chunks? Or every 15 during a break?

I used to study for one hour and take a 15 minute break and then go back in. Sorta worked. 

ev 15 min

my timer goes off every 15 min, on the 15-min mark. then every 4 i do a song.

And did i say in theory i'm doing some exercise, like push-ups, every 15 min? LIke 1 min worth.

the touch of the master's hand:

"fall down seven times, get up eight" - japanese proverb


"And did i say in theory i'm doing some exercise, like push-ups, every 15 min? LIke 1 min worth." No, what do you mean in theory?  I think I remember reading on this forum about someone that said they would stretch and exercise everytime they took a break.

Thanks! Sometimes I need a break from me!

So glad you started the topic, I really would like to find out more about what works for everyone here... I see the value of accountability and CIns and chat  - I just have so much to work on with all of this! Any books or posts or thoughts and experiences anyone can post are most appreciated. I tend to be all or nothing and neither is satisfying or healthy. I wonder if an addictive personality just translates to binging on time and not having balance in basic things the same way you don't in addictions...

My only hope is that the same way I turned my addictive tendencies toward serving God and it became a healthy, life-changing addiction, I can do the same applying principles I learn here!

I freely admit to being powerless and in need of help in this and many areas! Learning to live like a normal, well-balanced person... hmmm, what a thought!

 Whew... I need a break! :-)