Monday, August 02, 2010

How to Take a Break (or Give One)

You probably imagine that it is easy to take a break: just stop working for awhile and the break will happen. That's only partly true.


When you think about it, there have been times you have taken a few minutes off and it has been the beginning of a long period of bouncing unhappily between the task and other things. There have been times when you thought that just one coffee or just one sweet would give you the burst of energy you needed to get back on track (does that usually work out for you?). There have been times you refused to take a break because you sensed you would never get back to what you were doing.


Here are three tips for taking (or giving) a break that really works for you:


1) Get moving. Changing your physiology creates space for new thoughts and feelings. Even if it's just a walk down the hall, moving helps.


2) Tell yourself what you want. Say, I will close my eyes for ten minutes so that I can come back to my task, relaxed and refreshed. Often we are so attracted to the idea of the break that we forget to want to come back to our task.


3) Interrupt your thoughts. There's no point in taking a break without clearing your mind so make sure you give yourself something new to occupy your attention and stretch your imagination.


Everyone deserves a break now and then. When you take your next one, enjoy it fully and return to your task feeling more focused and more efficient.

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