Working Moms:  Take a Break! comments

By Wendy Mihm | Sunday January 23, 2011

Everybody loses perspective on their work from time to time.  It happened to me all the time when I worked in the corporate world.  I would get so deeply involved in the marketing plan or the budgeting process or whatever was going on that I would be convinced that I had to arrive at the office at 7:30am and stay till 9:00pm every day, just to keep up.  Then I would go in on the weekends, “to catch up.”  Right.

What I thought would happen if I didn’t do this, I’m not sure.  But I am no richer for it and nobody pulled me aside and told me how wonderful I was for doing any of that.  All I got was a bunch of take out menus piled up in my desk drawers and a late start on motherhood.  When things got too serious within our brand team at my last job, and it was 7:30pm and none of us had eaten yet, one of us would inevitably yell “Hey, people!  We’re not trauma surgeons, here!  We’re marketing juice!”  And it worked.

So unless you are a trauma surgeon, like my friend Jack, you can borrow that line at your work place any time you want to remind people to lighten up.  In addition to that, here are some tips to help you to regain your perspective when you start to take your job (and maybe yourself) a bit too seriously.

Stop Working at 5:30.

Really.  Even if you can’t go home at that time, stop working and take a break.  Even if you really can’t take a break.  Why?  Because you have been working all day and your productivity has begun to plummet, even though you don’t realize it.  It is time to stop staring at the page, the spreadsheet, the email, the database, or the problem and get some fresh air.  When you come back, you may have a new perspective.  Or even better, you may have gained the good sense to realize that it is time to go home.

When You Take Your Break, Go Outside

Even if you have stubbornly decided to stay at your dank office building, go outside and walk around the building.  Look at some trees.  Breathe some fresh air.  Focus your eyes on a faraway place so you don’t go blind looking at your computer screen all day.  And if you were smart enough to go home, go outside and get some exercise.

Spend Your Break With the People You Love Most

They are the reason you are working in the first place, are they not?  Are you really working so that you can afford that cold, dead automobile in your driveway, or that warm, glitter glue covered goofball in your home?  How about having a conversation with your spouse?  Remember how funny he is?  Why not cook a meal together while the kids push themselves around in a laundry basket or listen to iTunes in the living room?

Remember, you work to earn money to live.  So don’t forget that last part.




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