There is no law that says we must stay on a task relentlessly.
I've known for decades how important it is to take a break in the midst of stress, no matter what it is.
I can't say I've always followed this path, but I often do.
Julie Burley, our popular Office Manager, has just moved. (We all know what fun that is.) Being one to complete any task she begins with care and excellence, Julie had been working day and night to get everything done when I shared my philosophy of procrastination with her.
'Take a break,' I suggested. 'It will wait for you.'
Julie weighed the wisdom of this view against her certain knowledge that I carry the philosophy to new heights and decided it was worth a try - in moderation. And, she reported gleefully, it worked! Sometimes a diversion lets us return to a task renewed.
Just a little break in a project we feel compelled to complete, no matter what, can feel like a vacation. After all, isn't this what coffee breaks at work achieve?
Even in the midst of a bad separation or divorce - maybe especially then - when one or both parties are intent on proving the other to be all wrong, someone needs to give it a rest! It won't kill anyone to speak an occasional kind word to an adversary. Saying 'You have always been neat and organized' won't lessen the chance of a good settlement. In fact, keeping things in perspective will increase fairness, which should be the goal.
Sometimes a diversion lets us return to a task renewed.
Couples who are aggravated with each other can put disagreements on hold and go off to fly a kite! Why not?
When we are on deadline at The Shopper, we always bring in a wonderful lunch, courtesy of the business, and take the time out to enjoy it and a little levity. Once-tense deadlines have become a source of pride for us about how respectful and cooperative we are with one another.
Mothers who are already using 26 hours every day to keep up with everything they have to do can consider if the laundry will wait while they take the kids to a funny movie or even take some time for themselves at a salon or spa. Dads can ask themselves how quickly the past year has gone and resolve to take a break and simply play with their kids before all the years fly by.
Maybe I set the model for overdoing my take-a-break philosophy. After all, I still have boxes stacked in my part of the garage from our move in September 04. But I am happy being able to change gears at will and enjoy diversions.
Perhaps I should try to stay on task as bit more while those who have never taken a break practice trying it out! Life is precious - carpe diem!
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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