Monday, July 30, 2007

Take a Break!

Tip of the Week, July 15 and 22, 2007

This morning, I spent two hours lingering over breakfast with a friend. We leisurely sipped coffee, did the Sunday crossword, engaged in a bit of people watching, and generally reveled in doing very little of anything. I realized this was one of the first "real" weekend days I've had in recent memory, in which my obligations were few and I had the luxury of slowing the pace of my schedule and indulging in some true relaxation.

My long, lingering breakfast was a simple pleasure, but it made a significant difference in my day, allowing me the chance to catch my breath and refocus after a series of extremely busy weeks. It also reminded me of the importance of taking a break every once in a while: a break from organizing, from meeting with clients, from e-mail and phone calls, from administrative work, and from the dozens of other tasks that allow me to successfully do the work I do. Without these breaks, I get run down and less effective; with them, I'm able to regroup and recharge, which makes me more efficient and better able to serve my clients.

For the next few weeks, I encourage you to look for places in your life where mini breaks would serve you well. You might hire a sitter to watch the kids for a few hours so you can enjoy a movie with a friend. Consider scheduling a long lunch (or even an extended coffee break) during which you do nothing but read your favorite magazine, write a letter, or simply zone out. Set aside an hour or two during the week or on the weekend and make arrangements to do something you wouldn't otherwise do, whether that's getting a massage, spending time with a friend you haven't seen in a while, visiting a museum, relaxing in a park, or going to the beach.

Recharging your inner batteries doesn't require a long vacation or elaborate preparations; it simply requires a bit of time that you dedicate to yourself and to doing what you find relaxing. Indulge in your equivalent of my long breakfast this morning and I bet you'll find yourself feeling more in control, less stressed, and better able to face the world.

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