When I was leaving my job last June, one of my colleagues asked if she could pick my brain about time management. She was struggling to complete projects and manage all her tasks, and was about to get more responsibility because I was leaving.
I gave her all my best tips on getting as much done as possible in a given work day.
“Oh,” I said as an afterthought. “I also take an hour lunch break every day.”
She was floored. I only worked three days a week; she worked five, didn’t take breaks, often worked late, and still had trouble completing her workload.
Taking an hour-long break in the middle of the day is so necessary for me.
First I close almost all the programs running on my computer, except those I know I’ll need in the afternoon. Typically, only Chrome is open, with Gmail in one tab and Google Drive in the other. Everything else, closed out.
Then I sit down at the table and eat a healthy lunch. I used to be devoted to salad – I think I ate a salad for lunch almost every day for the past five years. Then I got pregnant again, and salad has not been so appetizing.
My go-to lunches of late are gluten-free toast with avocado and tomato; gluten-free penne pasta with spinach and sundried tomatoes; or vegan leftovers. (I do still eat meat and fish, but only a few times a week; and I prefer to eat it in the evening.)
I usually read during lunch, but lately I’ve been practicing Susan Hyatt’s method of attentive eating: I eat slowly and attentively, notice when I’m starting to get full, and stop eating at that point.
Then I usually have a half-hour left. I either go for a walk, or I sit on the couch in some sun and read a book or a magazine (often with a cookie and/or a cup of tea). This midday point of refreshment fuels me up for the afternoon – way more than eating mindlessly in front of the computer screen.
In the afternoon, I revisit my list of results I need to produce for the day and recalibrate, if I need to. I also find that taking a break prevents me from going down a random internet rabbit hole and spending hours researching something that’s not really that crucial. (You’re welcome.)
June 14, 2019