Pomodoro Breaks (as a Developer)

Get inspired by this list of activities suited for Pomodoro breaks, specially curated for software developers and other geeky types.

The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to increase focus, not only for developers but for all kinds of knowledge workers. This post presents a list of activities to perform during the periodic breaks taking place between the method’s eponymous spurts of work. As you’ll see, many of them involve some degree of physical activity to balance out extended periods of sedentariness (yes, this word actually exists).

Table of Contents

    Go for a walk

    If your workplace is located in a nice green neighborhood or even near a park, there’s nothing more invigorating than going for a walk. The health benefits of walking in appealing environments are well-documented.(( https://doi.org/10.1080/19438150903378425 ))

    Do some stretches

    Stretching all parts of your body is absolutely important for promoting blood circulation and loosening up unnecessary muscle tightness. Check out the below video by two guys called Bob & Brad to learn about some relevant stretches specifically for office workers:

    Perform a micro workout

    Given many people’s busy schedules, it’s no wonder that micro workouts are becoming a thing. As I see it, any exercise that aims to get your heart rate up for a few minutes qualifies as a micro workout. Exercises that do that for me include:

    NB: I’m not a personal trainer, so take all of the above with a grain of salt.

    Grab a snack and/or drink

    This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Get up and grab yourself a hot cup of joe or another beverage and/or snack of your choice. Obviously, you should avoid things such as sugary drinks and excessive amounts of potato chips.

    Get some chores done

    When I’m working from home, I use some of my Pomodoro breaks to do chores I’ve been putting off for longer than I should. Doing the laundry, vacuum-cleaning, or reorganzing desk will not only give you a reason to get up from your chair, but will also contribute to your well-being as result of a cleaner work environment.

    Use the toilet

    Even something as innocent and mundane as using the toilet can interrupt your work, forcing a context switch that will ultimately cost you productivity. So if at all possible, it might make sense to wait for the next Pomodoro break before going to the bathroom.

    Take a 20-minute power nap

    With long pomodoro breaks lasting between 15 and 20 minutes, there’s enough time to take a short power nap. In my case, taking a short nap in the early afternoon can work wonders. Waking up after a power nap very much feels like a second morning! Pro tip: Make sure to set an alarm to avoid entering NREM 2!

    Engage in small talk with your co-workers

    Although small talk often gets a bad wrap, it’s absolutely essential in building professional relationships. Whether you’re employed or working as a contractor, you can use breaks and similar occasions for networking.

    Practice an instrument

    For the musicians out there, Pomodoro breaks present a great opportunity to do some exercises on your instrument of choice. In case you play the guitar, the all-mighty spider exercise is a very good choice.

    Pet a pet

    If you’re a pet owner working from home or if your employer is cool enough to allow office pets, don’t miss the chance to interact with those cute little critters. There is ample evidence for the beneficial physiological effects of petting animals.(( https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00844843 ))(( https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1986.58.1.21 ))


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