While working in a library I discovered a very important thing. The entire day’s work can be draining, leaving you as the worker feeling lethargic, especially if you are working in a building which has a warped sense of correct healthy temperatures!
We were lucky, we had a full hour lunch break, compared with the frankly shocking 28 minute average that a UK worker takes. But even with this full hour you could find yourself getting tired during this break, eating lunch in the staffroom, leafing through a dog eared magazine, waiting until the time you are supposed to clock on again. After that the day dragged on. Even in a fairly hands on physically demanding job I found myself watching the clock for the end of the day.
Once the end of the day arrives, as most tired workers know, the only thing they want to do is put on their pyjamas, television then bed. Thus lethargy in the workplace is responsible for the diminishing of social activity and general quality of life.
But what can one do? Short of giving up the job to focus on self-indulgence and hedonistic pleasures. How can the worker feel refreshed right up until the time to return home?
I learned it was quite simple. Take a complete break, not a half break; If you don’t understand the premise, I shall explain presently. A half break, my own turn of phrase, is where a worker stops working but doesn’t leave the working mind set, so their mind while eating their lunch is still focused on work related topics. A full break is where anything work related is dropped from the mind solely for the duration of the break. Truly, just the frame of mind makes all the difference.
It’s not easy to drop work concerns while on a break because work issues have been your sole concern for many hours of the day. My colleagues found that attending a fifteen minute Pilates session run every lunchtime in a local community hall was the perfect thing to bring them back refreshed to work. And yes it was noticeable how much happier they returned to work, energised, chirpy, busy.
I realise that it is not feasible for everyone to attend an exercise class in their lunch hour. But I found that just the mere act of leaving the building and engaging on a ten minute walk even in the cold and the rain, if I felt like it, taking my lunch on a bench, was enough to give my mind as well as my body free time. Which in the end recharges a soul.
Keeping content also ups productivity in the same way it gets rid of lethargy. The full break is a very important way of balancing work and self. Not only does it make for a pleasanter workday, but it also means that you might be up to spending quality time with family or friends. Your social life would no longer suffer.