Tag Archives: plants

Productivity: Plan Your Breaks Carefully

Have you had the experience that you are working along on a task or project, stop for a short

Avoid engaging in social media and other pleasurable electronic activities when you take breaks to ensure that you will be able to return to work in a timely manner.

break with the sincere intention to return to your work, but don’t return to it? I’m guessing that most of us have had that type of experience. What happened? Breaks are supposed to help you be more productive, right? How did you get completely derailed from your work?

What you do on your break can determine whether or not you will be successful returning to work after it. If you stand up, stretch, get a drink and/or a snack, go to the bathroom, step outside for a few minutes, even take a short walk, it will be relatively easy to return to your work. Those activities are not likely to distract you from your focus on your work.

If you check Facebook or any other social media site, look at Youtube, play video games, watch TV, surf the web or listen to something engaging, like NPR, you are likely to have more difficulty getting back on track. Those activities are highly stimulating and give great pleasure that can be hard to disengage from. They take you to a place that is very different from your work. You may think you’ll just look at Facebook for five minutes, yet find yourself there for 25 minutes. By then you’ll have shifted from a work/productivity focus to a pleasure focus.

Breaks are essential for productivity. Your brain needs a rest after working hard for a period of time. Taking a break allows you to reset and refresh your brain and get your energy and motivation back. Take breaks regularly (5-15 minutes), but plan your breaks to avoid highly stimulating and highly pleasurable activities that can shift your focus and make re-engaging in your task or project more difficult, if not impossible.

Decorating for Christmas: A Catalyst for Change

When I decorate for Christmas I’m always looking for items I no longer love. This year I put one roll of ribbon, two seasonal wreaths and one ornament in the donate bag. This practice over the last five years has resulted in me reducing the number of boxes that come out of my attic from about 10 to just 3. Decorating is a much less overwhelming task these days! What surprised me this year is that once I started decorating my urge to purge went beyond my Christmas decorations.

As I looked around my living room I found myself feeling bothered by a plant that had grown so big that it felt like a green invader rather than a green asset. I was also ready to be done with two other plants that had needed repotting years ago, whose growth was out of control and ungainly. I tossed them in the trash and added their pots to the donation pile. I relocated the green invader to another room and tossed the corn plant that had been in the green invader’s new home. As I worked to make the plant adjustments I realized I was really craving more simplicity in my living room, less stuff, nothing that felt out of control. When I finished clearing plants and decorating I felt such peace, such relief.

Earlier this fall I set an intention to have more space in my life next year, for rest, reflection and writing. It seems my Christmas decorating was just the catalyst I needed to make my space mirror my intention. Because what I have in my space affects what happens in my life, I’m expecting to have the space I am seeking. I’ve laid the physical foundation. I’m ready for the change I am seeking!