Tim Ferriss, of The Four-Hour Work Week fame, proposed the idea of mini-retirements – saving your money and taking blocks of time off (measured in months) throughout life to enjoy being alive. It’s really a terrific concept and it works especially well for single people without kids. The rest of us need something a little more manageable but with similar results – which is something I call mini-breaks.
A mini-break is a very short period of time – five minutes or so – during which you download all the stuff rummaging around in your brain, take a deep breath, enjoy the beautiful sunshine or heavy rain (or whatever) and generally get a battery boost. Think of these like the portable cell phone re-chargers now ubiquitously available in every airport sundry shop or like the brief pause during a hike to train your eyes on something other than your next step.
The benefits of mini-breaks are several:
- Time Management: We are forever behind schedule. A mini-break allows you to catch up just a bit. The respite it provides allows you to regain command over your hectic schedule.
- Workflow Processing: A terrific use of the mini-break is between meetings. Schedule one in between every meeting to allow you to core dump what’s in your head from the last meeting and enter the next meeting focused on its subject matter. You can use your scheduling software – Outlook, etc. – to schedule things down to one-minute increments. Just schedule each meeting to last until the full or 1/2 hour, but don’t start the next meeting until five or 35 after. It’s kind of like TBS television programming!
- Work/Life Balance: Two of the hardest things to achieve in today’s frenetic world is a sense of peace and a sense of command. The mini-break provides both of these. The brief interlude allows you to simply slow down for a minute and enjoy the day. Moreover, knowing you “have five minutes” puts you directly back in charge of your schedule and your life.
Give it a try. Just put one or two mini-breaks into your day to start. You’ll find that you can add them in almost everywhere once you get into the habit.