We have learned to do a lot of things but how to literally make time is not one of them. Time is one of our most precious resources yet we often don’t pay it the attention it deserves. How do you spend your time? How do you rejuvenate? How do you feel about time?
I’ve been focusing on how I manage my time recently and have been experimenting with some new tools such as using time blocking, and the amaaazing project management app ClickUp.
I’ve also been thinking about breaks.
As in I don’t take them very often.
Can you relate?
Yes, I take lunch breaks, but the rest of the day when I’m in my office, my head is down and I’m laser-focused working away like the proverbial busy (Canadian!) beaver.
Even though when I’m running training workshops I know that breaks help.
Breaks are super beneficial to have during training workshops because:
- Retention goes up with breaks (yes it’s true)
- Breaks help the learning land
- Breaks are when the integration of the information happens (this happens unconsciously, we don’t have to lift a finger)
- During breaks, lots of other kinds of learning happens
- Workshop participants can connect with and learn from each other
- Plus Dr. Sara Gottfried in her Brain Body Diet Book says that too much sitting, especially for women, can increase our risk for 30 diseases!
Soooooo, I think it’s high time we applied this knowledge of the power of breaks to ourselves don’t you think?
And when I say break, keeping Dr. Sara’s missive in mind, make sure you step away from your desk to take it.
To help you do just that I’ve designed a little gift for you. It’s a series of cards that are divided into three categories. Each card has a suggestion for how to take a mini-break during your workday, based on one of the three categories. Most of the suggestions are self-explanatory but I’ve included them all below with a little more info for each.
The 3 categories are:
Body: Your brain is busy, now give it a rest and pay some attention to your body with one of these simple suggestions on the cards.
The break suggestions in the body category are:
Grab some nice smelling lotion (unless you have a scent-free workplace or have allergies then it’s unscented all the way) and massage some lotion into your hands, arms or (if you can do it privately) into your feet.
Take a break and take a sniff. Put some aromatherapy drops on a cotton ball and inhale. Try lavender to relax or peppermint to wake up.
Water or tea
I recently learned that the symptoms of fatigue can mimic being dehydrated. Grab some fluids, it just may help you banish feeling tired.
My mom-in-law gave me this terrific sign that I have on my desk. If you can walk you can dance so put on a favourite tune and dance away or join me dancing here.
Be like a cat and stretch out those stiff joints.
Giggle fest or laughter yoga
I know it sounds odd but it really works – make yourself laugh, even though there may be nothing to laugh about. Is laughter yoga new to you? Check this out. You’ll get the benefits of laughing on the spot.
Strike a pose, a yoga pose.
Pretend your face is a sheet of tinfoil and scrunch it all up as tight as you can. Hold it for 10 seconds then release. Repeat.
Soul: Dip your toe into some soulful time, let your mind wander and take your place in the universe
Spend one minute and meditate. Grab an app like Simple Habit to help you if you need it.
Spend a quiet minute or two with your eyes closed visualizing your good health, success, happiness or whatever you wish.
Write one paragraph in your journal
Easy peasy. One small paragraph. About anything.
Write a one-paragraph fantasy story
Escape into fantasy and write one paragraph. Seriously, anything goes.
Look up your horoscope
Read your horoscope.
Write a postcard to your future self
Write a postcard or a letter (though no pressure to write an essay) to yourself sometime in the future. Hide it away and make a reminder to look at it a few months or a year from now.
Write a postcard to someone saying thanks
Write a postcard to someone you admire and are grateful for to say thanks. Sending it is nice but optional.
Leave a love note to yourself in a jacket pocket
Write a love note to yourself and hide it in a jacket pocket, a jacket you don’t wear often, so you’ll surprise your future self.
Artful; Play, get creative, have fun and most of all don’t judge yourself.
Draw or doodle
Use a pen, pencil crayons, crayons, felts or whatever you have on hand to fill a page with drawings or doodles.
Answer a creativity question
Answer one of the questions from this creativity worksheet
Make a postcard
Grab some cardboard and create a postcard. Put it aside until you draw one of the two cards about writing a postcard.
Describe your mood in as much creative detail as possible
Really hone in on your body and write about it. What does your spine have to say right now? What about your legs? Your soul? Your mood? Get creative. If you get stumped use comparisons. For example, what animal does the feeling in your feet compare to right now?
Take a natural item from outside and display it
Go outside and collect a beautiful piece of nature; a branch, flower, stone, leaf etc. Then bring it inside and display it.
Make a paper airplane, decorate it and throw it as far as you can
Write seven titles that describe the chapters of your life
Pretend you’re writing a book about your life and it has seven chapters. Write the titles to those chapters.
Take a pretty piece of paper and make it into origami
Find or make a pretty piece of paper then make it into a piece of origami. Don’t know how to make a piece of origami, use my fortune-teller as a substitute.
Ready for that break?
You’ll find the link to the worksheet below. Print it off, cut out the cards along the dotted lines and put them in a pretty bowl, with the category side facing up.
Pick a card a day and follow the instructions.
P.S. Remember to make sure its a true break by not being at your desk.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead.
- Download the worksheet here
- I took a time management course from productivity expert Amber de la Garza that initiated my thinking about this. Check out her work here.
- Even if you’re not old enough to remember this commercial it’s still wickedly funny. Calgon take us away.
- Need some more help? Join my Learning and Development Roundtable January 17th for my free Reflecting Forward: Learning from Last Year to Create the Vision for Your Best Year Yet Workshop (it’s online and in-person and will also be recorded)
- That Roundtable will set us up for February’s (Feb 21) where I’ll host a workshop on how to create a learning plan for yourself for 2020.