June 27, 2006

pro-active coffee breaks ...

I've been thinking more about this rest for work idea and it occured to me this morning that even the "coffee break" has a place in this whole rhythm ...

I remember when I worked in retail stores (during high school and college) and also at Costco, that the coffee break was always something I took for granted. I might bring a book to read and a snack to eat while putting my feet up and relaxing. In a job where I was constantly talking and interacting with people, it was a few moments of quiet in a busy day.

When I moved into an office-based job, the same coffee time became a break from my isolated desk. It was a chance to sit and catch up with friends and interact with people which was a refreshing change in a quiet day.

There was a time last year, however, that the coffee break disappeared from my day. I had been working for 24-7 Prayer out of a home-based office, and would often start at 9am and not look up from the computer screen until around 2pm some days. I'd wander upstairs for a quick lunch and sometimes even take it down and eat it in the office while continuing work.

The result ... I ended the day very tired and sometimes a bit grumpy and I noticed that my productivity in the afternoon was really poor. So I re-established the coffee and lunch break and made myself take them even if I was not feeling like I needed the rest. I was so much more alert and able to focus for the remainder of the day.

I'm finding that treating the coffee-break as a strategic time of rest in the midst of my day is a key to working well. It may look different depending on the type of job I have, but the principle of working out of rest is crucial to making the most of the time I have been given each day.

What does your coffee-break look like. And if you are a smoker and you use your break for a quick puff, I'm curious if it achieves the same 'rest' or if the time of being refresh is sacrificed??

1 comment:

Sheena said...

i work as a travel consultant in a call center. i keep bringing books to work but i don't get much reading done in the breakroom.

i always secretly find it amusing that taking a break means moving from the seat at my desk to the sofa in the break room, but just shootin' the breeze with my fellow employees is always a re-charge somehow. maybe it's just taking my mind off of "concentration" mode, or maybe it's getting my eyeballs off my monitor.

the coffee helps too.