How much break time do you get?

Well, I am back from Belize and back to work. After just having a ten day break in “Paradise” I am already thinking about more break-time! Break-time may just be the best time of the day for many of us. Why exactly do we look forward to break-time so much? Seems like such a nonsensical question. On a “break”, we get a time-out from work. We break our routine. We stop doing something that we may feel is tedious or difficult. We may take a smoke, a walk or play cards with other workers, but it is not work so it passes very fast. Break-time takes us away from work and allows us to rejuvenate some of our vital physical and mental processes.

However, what if your whole day was one long break? What if you had to come in from 9 to 5 and take one long eight hour break? I was once told that in China there was so much employment that they could not find enough jobs for all the workers. So one factory had a large break room and the employees would take turns doing the work. Fifty percent of them might be working and fifty percent of them would just be passing time in the break room. I was told that putting people into meaningful work was much more important in China than efficiency or productivity.

What if you were paid to take a break the whole day? Can you imagine what it would be like? Could you play cards, chat or be idle the entire day? I suppose some people might call this “retirement.” Retirement is different though in that you know you are not going back to work. Despite the fact than many so-called retirees must find part-time jobs to support themselves, they do not think of themselves as being on a break from work. To be on a break from work, means that after the break you must go back to work. But what if there were no work to go back to? What if you were among the permanently unemployed? What would it be like? Would you find it stressful? Would you get bored? Well, the stress would eventually come when you ran out of money. Thus for most of us, breaks need to be long enough for rejuvenation and short enough to prevent boredom.

Do you get enough breaks in your life or do you keep on until your body forces you to take a break? How balanced are the breaks in your life from both stress and tedium? What do you need to better manage in your life to prevent burnout or boredom? I know that taking this break to Belize and not using my cellphone or laptop for ten days taught me a great deal about life. I learned I was really not as important as I sometimes think I am and I learned that I am often like a rabbit, hopping from one task to another without so much as a few minutes in between. I need to take more long breaks and more short breaks in my life.

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