All Work & No Play Makes Jack a Dull Employee

By: Ashlee

When you land your first job, and I’m talking your real first ” big kid” job, there’s going to be one gigantic goal you’ll strive to achieve every single day you step foot in the office: To be the absolute best you can be at that job (and if you’re anything like me, an over-achiever, you’ll strive to be even BETTER than that). While plugging away each and every day, every hour on the hour, is a great stride towards being the super star we all know you are, there is such a thing as taking a short 10-minute break. And you know what? Studies prove employees who take short, little breaks every hour to clear their mind for just a tint bit of time are more productive than those who slave away until the project at hand is ultimately done.

People in cubicle

So how can you break up your day into little chunks that will not only benefit you, but are also incredibly enjoyable? Here are my favorite ways to break up my rigorous work days:
  • Designate a space in a desk drawer to be your ‘snack food’ place. When the late morning hunger pains strike or you’re craving a piece of chocolate after pounding out the last paragraph of a killer proposal plan, reward yourself by digging into your snack food drawer, and honestly enjoy it for the next 5-10 minutes.
  • Don’t get stuck in your chair for the next 8 hours! Get up and stretch that body! Take a small walk down the hall to refill your cup of coffee or get a drink of water. Just get up and move.
  • Stop and chat with a colleague for a few minutes (Just make sure they’re not in the middle of something important!)
  • Keep a pad of paper in your top desk drawer (I’m partial to the spiral bound ones). Use this as your Mind Unloading Notepad. It comes in handy when you find yourself utterly stuck on a project. Let it all out on the page. It doesn’t have to be anything serious. Just get it all out from your mind onto paper. Your mind will instantly feel freer to do the work it needs to do.
  • Call a good friend or a family member, and chat for a few minutes (Plus, you were going to call your mom to ask for her cooking advice later, anyways.)
  • Get out of your email and read something “fun” for 10 minutes. Catch up on the headlines of your favorite blog. It may just inspire you on your next project.
  • Write a thank-you to one or two people who have greatly helped you in your work in the past week.
  • Go for a short walk. Even better if you can take a little stroll outside in the sunshine!
  • Subscribe to 1 or 2 magazines you absolutely love (even better if it’s related to your line of work!), and keep a few issues in the same drawer as your snacks. Page through them when you need a brief mental break. Bonus points if you’re browsing while stretching your legs about your office. (Yay multitasking!)
  • See what’s trending in the world, and get your inner Tweeter on. That’s the convenient thing about Twitter. Everything is only 140 characters. Browsing has never been easier.
Now, I realize not every profession offers the time and flexibility to do these things, but the overall point here is not to chain yourself to your desk or let your entire day be swallowed up by the stress of your job. Don’t get me wrong. There are honestly days where you are so wrapped up in your work, you barely notice the day has passed by and it’s suddenly time to head home.
Try not to be alarmed when this happens more than once in a week. When it does happen,  take it as a sign you’re doing something you enjoy, and that’s a very, very good thing.
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