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Poll: For how long do you typically need to take a break to regain concentration?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 22:33
Jan 2, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "For how long do you typically need to take a break to regain concentration?".

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:33
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I said 10 to 20 minutes, but . . . Jan 2, 2014

if the weather's nice, I can be tempted to take my dogs for a walk and postpone some of my work into the evening.

We're having about a month of perfect weather in San Diego right now, hovering slightly above room temperature outdoors.

That's what freelancing is about!


Doan Quang  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:33
English to Vietnamese
10 to 20 minutes Jan 2, 2014

Enjoying a cup of coffee and a cigarette typically takes 10 to 20 minutes!

[Edited at 2014-01-02 08:34 GMT]


Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:33
Member (2006)
German to English
Typically? Jan 2, 2014

No typical case with me.

I keep churning until it is lunch time or dinner time or bed timeicon_wink.gif

I do not really need breaks in-between.


Melanie Maiwald-Meylahn  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:33
English to German
+ ...
It depends Jan 2, 2014

I usually take a short break after approx. two hours - less than 10 minutes. But I need a longer break and some fresh air around lunchtime or sometime in the afternoon.


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:33
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
< 10 minutes Jan 2, 2014

It only takes a few minutes of contemplating the trees visible from my desk, or stepping out on the balcony. The first can be done at any given time, whenever it's needed which is seldom required during a normal work day.icon_wink.gif


Teresa Borges
Local time: 06:33
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends! Jan 2, 2014

Michael Harris wrote:

No typical case with me.

No typical case with me either... A cup of coffee once in a while takes only a minute or two. Sometimes my focus is mainly on the deadline rather than a break!


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Again Jan 2, 2014

Typically, how long is a piece of spring?

Some days I shift into overdrive and just cruise along without the need for any breaks at all. And, others, I'll need as long as it takes for the kettle to boil and down a nice cuppa tea. Or, it might even take a couple of hours to clear my system of whatever is blocking my thoughts.

In cases like this, I just wish I had a Reset button. icon_biggrin.gif

As Muriel quite rightly says, being able to work within your own flexible schedule is one of the advantages of being an independent translator -- something you can't do in a 9-5.

Small edit -- Can't be thinking straight

[Edited at 2014-01-03 02:42 GMT]


Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
I've just had 12 days off Jan 2, 2014

and I'm still struggling to concentrateicon_smile.gif


Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:33
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Learned this break thing by force Jan 2, 2014

I used to pretty much work through most of the day, maybe stop to have lunch, sometimes not even that. I found it hard to "make myself stop".

Now my puppies let me work for 2 - 3 hours at a time and then demand play or walk time (30 - 45 minutes). Then they settle to do their own thing again and let me get on with my work for another 2 -3 hours.

Naturally, this means that my working day is considerably longer, but I actually feel much more relaxed and energetic for it and my cigarette and coffee consumption has pretty much halved. So obviously, I was actually needing more breaks than I would ever have admitted to myself. I only "feel" like I need a break after 6 - 8 hours. Now I'm starting to enjoy this 2 - 3 hour set-up.

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

if the weather's nice, I can be tempted to take my dogs for a walk and postpone some of my work into the evening. ... That's what freelancing is about!

I couldn't agree more with Muriel's statement. In the Shetland Islands, "good weather" is a rather rare phenomenon. So being able to get out on a longer walk on the first dry day after several weeks of storms and gales recently was a godsend. It really made me appreciate working freelance and being able to take advantage of those rare moments. I don't mind burning the midnight oil to make up for it.

[Edited at 2014-01-02 09:56 GMT]


Local time: 07:33
English to Italian
+ ...
it depends Jan 2, 2014

it depends on the amount of damage done with the interruption.

If I am really fed up and annoyed for something futile, it takes a while, even hours.


Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:33
German to English
+ ...
Depends Jan 2, 2014

Seeing as Julian has already called for the definition of "typically", I shall invoke the "depends" response!

It really does depend on:
how much sleep I have had the night before; and on
how long I have been working for before I take the break in question.

A good day consists of around 90 minutes of uninterrupted work followed by a break of 10-15 minutes for drainage and refueling (90-octane coffee), and this cycle repeated 5 or 6 times, with a 30-minute break for lunch somewhere in the middle.

Good days are by no means the norm.

For that reason, I only break if I feel it is absolutely necessary on average and below average days - and, of course, when a deadline is looming.

Stretching intermittently is easily achieved with eyes glued to the screen.

Oops! I now see that Teresa had already invoked the "It depends" answer. That's one of the first phrases I learnt to say in Portuguese with conviction, by the way.icon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2014-01-02 10:08 GMT]


Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:33
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Jan 2, 2014

I don't really need breaks to regain concentration. I see from my work records that, when things are busy, I am capable of putting in stints of 5-6 hours without a break. The breaks that I do take are typically a lunch break of about 50 minutes and, if there is time, I like to fit in my regular daily walk of about 45 minutes duration. Both of these are dispensable if I am very busy.


Nicola Wood  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:33
Member (2010)
German to English
It depends on so much.... Jan 2, 2014

How interesting the particular piece of work is can be a really significant factor, not to mention how good the weather is, how many interruptions I get, and how close the deadline is. There is nothing typical in life as a translator as far as I am concerned, but that is what makes it so interesting!


Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:33
German to English
There and back again... Jan 2, 2014

The length of time that it takes me to drive 3 miles to the seaside, have a short walk on Filey beach and drive back again! Approx. 40-45 minutes.

Steve K.

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