I’m not talking about breaks like a vacation or a day off or a leave of absence. I’m talking about a little 15 minute break taken daily. I’ve written about the power of 15 minutes for cleaning and organizing, but 15 minutes also makes a difference when it comes to renewing your energy level and motivation.
I’ve been a full-time homemaker for most of my adult life. As long as I can remember, I’ve taken two breaks every day – one at lunch and one at 3:00 each afternoon. The lunch break makes perfect sense but I have no idea where the 3:00 break came from. All I know is that nearly every day I stop at 3:00 and take about a half hour break. I don’t have to even look at the clock to know when it’s break time – my body and mind know. And I can tell if I skip my break.
My break time tends to be pretty much the same every day. I get a coke, a small snack and a book. I sit, usually in the same location, and read, drink my coke and eat my snack. After about half an hour, I get up and get back to work. I LOVE my break. I look forward to it every single day.
When I worked full-time, obviously I was not able to take a break at 3:00 every day and sit and read for 30 minutes. And sometimes I didn’t take a break. But if I had it to do over again, I would take a break everyday around 3:00. I might not have 30 minutes, but I could sure take a few minutes to go walk around the building, sit outside for a minute or something quick and refreshing.
You see, it’s not good for people to just work, work, work and work some more. We need breaks. Even short breaks are beneficial. I always thought not taking breaks made me a better employee. But it didn’t. It just made me more tired and less productive.
Taking breaks are rejuvenating and make it easier to come back and be productive. If you’re a break skipper, here are a few ideas to make taking a break easier & more rewarding.
If you’re home:
Take your break as close to the same time every day as possible. That will create a habit.
Decide on a time frame – 15 minutes, half an hour, etc.
Set a timer so you don’t have to keep checking your watch to see how much time is left.
Figure out a few things you can do that will help you relax and renew. I like to read and have a snack. You could:
- Take a short nap.
- Watch some tv.
- Play a game on your iphone.
- Surf the net or catch up on facebook.
- Take a quick walk.
- Water the plants (my husband LOVES watering plants – I think it’s about the most boring thing in the world).
- Play the piano.
If you’re at work:
Take your break as close to the same time every day as possible.
Don’t try to take a break at your desk. LEAVE YOUR DESK – even if you just go to the bathroom.
If you have a desk job, try to get up and move around during your break. If you have a physical job, try to sit and relax during your break.
Get some fresh air if you can. Some offices have picnic tables or benches outside the building. That’s perfect.
Don’t skip a break even if it’s just a few minutes. A few minutes can still work wonders for your mood and energy level – as long as you leave your desk!
And for everyone:
- Don’t feel guilty. Breaks are good things & will make you more productive in the long run.
- Don’t do anything stressful, like calling creditors.
- Do what makes you feel relaxed even if other people think it’s crazy.
- Don’t feel guilty. Oh, did I say that already? I really mean it.
- Don’t discount the value of a break. If you’re not in the habit of doing it, give it a try. If after a week you don’t think it’s beneficial, then don’t do it.
- Make it a routine so you don’t even think about it. When I take my 3:00 break, I don’t give it a second thought. I just do it.
Do you take regular breaks? What do you do on your breaks? If you don’t take breaks, why not?