Take a Break!

break
kelliewinnell.typepad.com

“I’m scared to take my breaks,” I told my therapist.

My job as an agent assistant is constant busy work: emails, phone calls, etc. I’m surprised that I have time to use the bathroom!

But after that statement, my therapist began telling me how important it is to take breaks, whether I was studying or working. Our brains can’t handle doing something for an extended amount of time without breaks. She used the all too common scenario of cramming for an exam as a great example of how NOT taking breaks affects our cognitive ability to process and retain information: We may study for 8 hours, but only really study for 6 because the other two hours were spent trying to stay awake, daydreaming, etc.

In other words, we’re physically present and doing something, but not mentally there and focused.

I told her I’d try and start taking breaks when I feel fatigue and see what happens, even if it means missing a phone call or not starting on an urgent task right this minute. Taking a 15 minute break isn’t going to cause clients to panic, right?

And if her advice didn’t convince me enough, I just came across this article about what to do during those breaks (it revolves around music practice, but the advice pertains to work too). Science doesn’t lie!! Breaks are important!!

Advertisements

I’m a Work in Progress

rsz_what-is-empowerment
lonerwolf.com

Since my mid-twenties came and went, I’ve always looked for ways to improve, whether personally or professionally. I did (and still do) look at others and wonder, ‘How is this person so smart about (insert topic here)?’ or ‘I want to be as good at (some task) as him/her, but how?’ Comparing myself to people who were successful and who seemed to “have it all,” I felt insecure, but took that as an opportunity to change and better myself.

My new journey began two-fold: I realized that all of the bookmarks on my computer were full of “fluff” websites: sites that didn’t enrich my life in any way, but were entertaining to read. I came to the conclusion that there was no real value to anything that I was reading on these sites. The second was graduating college and entering the real world, a world that none of us never fully grasp and understand. I wanted to be better at everything that I was doing, and to continue learning new things, but I didn’t know how.

That’s when Google became my helper. I typed in ‘self improvement sites’ and hit ‘Enter.’ That search led me to Lifehacker, Tiny Buddha, and Ted Talks (I’m sure you know about that last one, right??) A sidenote on Ted Talks: It’s a good site if you don’t want to read, but watch someone give advice. Amy Cuddy’s Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are is one of my favorites. I found that video when I was in the middle of a long, stressful, and (oftentimes) frustrating job search. It helped me be more confident in interviews, and I believe that her advice is what landed me my current position as an agent assistant.

You never know what can happen to you if you practice what you learn.

But over the years my list of self-improvement sites changed, and recently I added a new one called Smarter Living, a newish section of The New York Times that’s full of practical articles in addition to more in-depth stories. The section is dedicated to helping readers live better lives, and if you have an open mind, you’ll find this site useful. I happen to like their Guides.

After reading a few articles, I signed up for the Smarter Living newsletter. Now I get useful information delivered to my email every week. I’m not a subscriber to The Times, so I’m still only allowed to read 9 articles a month, but I haven’t ruled out the option of doing so. It’s another valuable site that I’m grateful to have stumbled upon.

Growing and bettering yourself is what everyone should strive to do every day of their lives. But some people are fine with staying static. I hope that you don’t want that for yourself. Whether it’s learning how to cook better, or how to be a better employee, there are a lot of resources on the web waiting to be read and put into practice. It’s working for me, and it’ll work for you too.

What websites do you go on for advice and to better yourself?

Inspiring Talks

Once in a while I watch Ted Talks. And they can’t come at a better time for me: when I’m down, there’s always a video of theirs that brings me back to normal. Through Youtube or their website, I enjoy them. And it’s easy to lose track of time, especially if you watch the videos that are more than 15 minutes long.

These videos are inspiring and thought provoking. There are multiple videos on the same topic so they can be repetive, but there are standouts among the pile. You can learn a lot about yourself, others and life through them.

I watched Amy Cudy’s video on body language to prep for a job interview, and her points worked. I felt relaxed and confident during the ordeal. I didn’t get the job but that’s one example on how Ted Talks helped me.

If you don’t like watching videos, the the Ted Blog is stocked with posts that are just as motivational and intriguing as their counterpart. Whatever medium you choose, you will not be let down.

Manners are So Important

I don’t know about you, but manners are important to me.

Very.

At my previous workplace, the environment was medium size but everyone knew one another. Coworkers would say “good morning” and smile at you when they saw you in the hall or the bathroom. Even the people who didn’t know each other were cordial with one another.

That is not the case at my new office, where the number of employees is much larger. However, that is no excuse to not be nice to people! I can be walking down the hall toward the copy room and acknowledge someone but that person just stares. Or I’ll hold the door open for someone and no “thank you” is uttered. Not even a smile.

Now, my immediate coworkers are nice to me, of course, but it’s such a different environment where not everyone is as friendly. (Even my manager is a nice guy, to everyone, whether he knows them or not).

How is your workplace culture? Are most people friendly? In the manners department my previous workplace wins by a long shot. That’s one thing I miss about that office. I felt like I was part of a family.

Here, everyone seems to be doing their own thing and not into chit chat or anything.

Oh, well. It’s their culture I guess.