Why you should take a break


3 year olds have tasks too

As I stepped foot into the campus workout room for the first time in almost four years I wondered why it had been so long. Then I had a series of flashbacks (the scriptwriting instructor side of me wants to format my flashbacks properly for film, but I will refrain). I visualized my two small children and husband, a messy house, an infinitely long grading list, class prep work, an uneaten lunch, and a clock reading 1am. Now it all makes sense.

every time I crossed one item off, two were added in its place.

Every adult knows, or should know, the importance of time management. Heck, I even took a class in it! However, sometimes it is easier said than done. Last semester tested my ability to time manage. The “to do list” seemed unmanageable and every time I crossed one item off, two were added in its place. Other days I found I had too many thoughts that needed my attention, I was working on four projects at the same time. It was easy to be distracted by anything or anyone. Coming from a mother of small children, I found the only time I could accomplish anything was when everyone went to bed. My workday often began at 8pm and went until I fell asleep (which my chiropractor is still yelling at me for doing).

The result?

What’s the result of working from the time I woke up until the time my body crashed? Accomplishing absolutely…NOTHING! That and a series of health issues. (If you want a good story on how overworking yourself can cause vertigo, just ask.) Needless to say I realize I have to make time for breaks.

I’m not the only one who has experienced this. I’m sure some who are reading this have done exactly what I have at one point or another. This is not earth shattering material. The question is, “how can I accomplish everything with the time I have?”

My answer…take a break!

Yes, I am telling you to walk away from the hours of grading and prep work you so badly want to work on until it is finished. Why? Because as little as 30 minutes away from your work will allow you to accomplish more than if you worked straight through. There comes a time when your body and mind become ineffective toward your work goals. This isn’t going to be an easy task, but I promise it will work. Walk outside (wait until April on this one), do yoga, take a walk through buildings in the college you forgot existed.

There comes a time when your body and mind become ineffective toward your work goals.

“But I can’t spare any time. These things need to get done.” I’ve said that. I even said it yesterday. I can sympathize. Do it anyway! It is important for you health and your mind. I am only rediscovering my love for running (oh how I missed it) in the last month. I have been able to accomplish so much more by walking away for a short time.

Students need a break too

Pass this knowledge along to your students. I teach in a field that requires a lot of time in front of the computer. I can start editing video and in the blink of an eye, four hours have gone by. I hear this from students all the time. As an instructor, I try to give students breaks every hour; however, not all students take advantage.

This semester my classes are going to take walking breaks.

I also find that during those breaks students ask for assistance, resulting in lack of a break for myself. This semester my classes are going to take walking breaks. There is a route that takes a person through the entire campus (without going outside in the winter) and logs close to a mile, for those measuring distance. I’m challenging myself to do this once each class (ours are structured in 4-5 hour blocks). I’m curious how this will impact student work. Students can still ask questions, the everyone including the instructor is given a break, and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about your students. I see it as a win, win. I challenge you to try it too!

2 thoughts on “Why you should take a break

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