Books, Productivity, travel

Better Breaks

My planning paid off and I had a nice day yesterday! 

I mentioned in my reading list on Sunday that I’ve been reading The New Corner Office, the e-book by Laura Vanderkam about how to work better from home. One section that caught my eye was about “taking breaks”. This advice was geared toward working people, but I think it could apply to almost anyone.

She talks about the importance of taking breaks in the day – real breaks that “add to your energy levels”. She talks about the fact that “everyone takes breaks”, even if they don’t admit it. However, oftentimes in an office setting, people will take “breaks” that look like work, so other people don’t think they are slacking off by just sitting there reading a book or something at their desk. 

These breaks often end up involving scrolling headlines, social media or a shopping page. At the end of the “break”, you end up feeling no more refreshed than before it started!

I realized I am guilty of this, too. Sometimes when I get to a good stopping point in my work, I take a sort of unplanned “break”, but I end up just puttering around in the house for a few minutes, making some tea and then scrolling around on my phone or on the computer (doing non-work related stuff). Suddenly I realize 10-15 minutes have flown by in a pretty unintentional way and I need to get back to work. Break over, yet so unfulfilling!

In her book, Laura proposes that people scheduletheir breaks into their day and also plan what they will do during those breaks. She recommends considering what short break activities rejuvenate you and add to your energy levels- it could be physical activity like a short walk, stretching routine or even a run, calling a friend or family, reading something outside for some fresh air, etc. The point is to be more intentional with how the time on the break is spent instead of just flittering the time away.

For me, some things I enjoy might be: a walk outside, playing the piano for 10 minutes, sitting on the deck reading my book, checking on my garden or crossing something specific off my to-do list that makes me feel accomplished, like making a phone call or a grocery list.

So yesterday, I tried to make a point to take scheduledbreaks, with a purpose! I scheduled in my lunch break and told the kids when it would be so we could eat together and talk. I also planned to water my flowers at that time, so I could get outside.

During my late afternoon break, I took a very short walk around the block while listening to part of a podcast, and then watched this amazing YouTube video that really lifted my spirits. I searched for it intentionally, because Ethan’s current piano book has “The Beautiful Blue Danube” in it and it reminded me that I love that piece.

Seriously, I encourage you to take a break today and WATCH THIS! (If reading in email, click through to site!)

It is Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra playing at Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna and it is the most beautiful performance. There are live dancers waltzing behind the orchestra, the orchestra members are dressed in gowns and it is absolutely stunning. Give it a couple minutes for the dancers to start- you won’t be disappointed. It’s like being transformed to another time. I sat watching it with a goofy smile on my face because it was just magical!

Travel Tuesday:

Watching this video made me remember how much I would LOVE to do a “classical music” trip sometime to Europe. I would love to plan an itinerary that would focus on the hot spots of classical music, like Prague, Vienna, Salzburg…with my music background, I think this would be amazing! Prague has always been on my list, but I love the idea of researching and planning a trip based specifically around the birthplaces of all the classical music geniuses!

Daily Gratitude:
I am grateful for some new workbooks that I got for the boys. I had been feeling overwhelmed with assigning them “learning materials” and coming up with what they should do each day. I bought them two each the other day and I’m loving the ease of just having them work through them. They seem quite good and also, I love that the ones I got provide a variety of subjects each day in random order, so I don’t have to pick and choose from different books. I still have them do some other online stuff in addition, but if nothing else, I feel good that they are doing SOMETHING educational in the day and it’s very easy for me. 

4 thoughts on “Better Breaks”

  1. I've been trying to make my breaks for intentional lately, too. I'm not really able to plan my breaks because of the nature of my work – my work day gets dictated by requests from sales/clients. But I try to find 30-40 minutes to get outside for a walk when the weather cooperates and those are the very best breaks for me. I listen to a podcast and savor the alone time outside of the house! A music-centered trip would be very cool! I have been to Prague and it was amazing!!


  2. fully agree about taking break that doesn't involve social media. I've tried it yesterday and it was revelation!!! we visited Prague and Vienna last summer and we will to visit again when the girls are older. Such beautiful cities with so much culture!!! Now.. i think I need to order that book. hahaha….


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