Take Breaks

The first week of my first QA job out of college, the guy training me, Steve, told me “remember to take breaks when doing manual tests.” I nodded, figuring it must be some kind of trick. Why would you take breaks when you are on deadline?  It took me a few development cycles to realize the value of what he had said, and to this day, it remains one of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten. We are in the middle of testing right now, and in the middle of a full day of manual tests, I was reminded of Steve’s advice.

Take breaks because your mind can only focus like that for so long before your eyes start to glaze over and you make silly mistakes: like starting to go on autopilot instead of evaluating every interaction, or ignoring a possible bug as a usual web glitch -when it might be something bigger. So this is my reminder for the day… go take a break. Go play tetris, or bubble shooter (my favorite), take a walk, close your eyes and listen to pandora for a full song. Give yourself five or ten minutes to reset and refocus. Go look at something that is not a computer screen, or talk to a coworker, or get up and stretch. The deadline will still be there, but you will be a more useful tool in meeting that deadline if you remember to take breaks.

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