Re-thinking Breaks

My typical work day has frequent short breaks of 5 mins or so in 30-45 min intervals and long break of 15- 30 minutes in 3-4 hour intervals after a stretch. Lunch, for example, constitutes a long break.

The problem I am working to solve is to change the way I think about these short breaks. The activities during these short breaks are at random – check my e-mail, reader, twitter, news etc. The long breaks are generally better because I work on the little things that make my day better – eat, make a phone call, take a walk, listen to a bit of a book etc.

The reason they are not easily done during the short breaks is because the short breaks are, well, really short. So, I’m experimenting with 2 things –

1. Using a distraction device i.e. I am only allowed to use my phone/iPad (for example) and I can do what I want during the short break but I can’t surf the net on my laptop.

2. Pre-load 2-3 minute activities i.e. prepare tiny 2-3 minute tasks that I actually want done. There are generally tons of these but it takes a bit of preparation and thinking the previous evening to make sure these go into my to do list for the day.

I have been testing it during the last two days. I have a long way to go but I like what I’m seeing. It calls for a bit more preparation the previous evening but, like always, it feels like preparation that’s completely worth it