Break time

Photo courtesy of James Marvin Phelps (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of James Marvin Phelps (Creative Commons)

I first heard a rustling in the tree by my porch while I was sitting out there having coffee. There in the crook of the branches was a squirrel, busily fortifying last year’s nest at a frantic pace. The squirrel would scamper off to either pull a loose branch or take one his hands and bite through it. Then he would carry it back in his mouth to stuff down in the nest. One branch was so big that it got caught on some leaves and was knocked out of his mouth. He sat there looking down for a moment and then raced off for another branch.

All of a sudden, the activity stopped and I saw him lying on a branch all spread out. I guess it was time for his break! A little later, the rustling started up again.

I realized that that is a natural way to work and yet so foreign to many of us. He was focused and put his all into the work for a time and then stepped away to take a break. To refresh himself. To rest.

I know I am guilty of going hard for too long – and I almost feel guilty when I do take a break – like I have to explain myself.

Often I move from task to task , then rush home only to do the same thing all night. Just stopping at certain points would help my body and my mind reset. Even just a five or ten minute break several times a day would refresh me.

There are no awards for going the longest. I do tend to lose focus and  start making mistakes toward the end of the day.  I need to build breaks into my workday.

How much more effective would you be if you took breaks like you should?