According to best selling author, Don Aslett, the average coffee drinker consumes more than 70,000 cups in a lifetime. ďThatís 70,000 or more times you have to find your cup, fill it, add cream or sugar, carry it to your work station, pick it up, set it down (repeat this at least fourteen or fifteen times),Ē writes Don Aslett in his book Done! How to Accomplish Twice as Much in Half the Timeóat Home and at the Office
These numbers certainly put things into perspective.
Over the course of my life Iíve had all kinds of jobs. One particular job I had was salaried so no one was keeping track of my time. Whenever I got the urge (which was often) Iíd wander to the vending machines for a snack. Since I could take my time for lunch I would go to nearby restaurants with my friends and eat all sorts of stuff that really wasnít good for me. I often vowed that I would pack my lunch, but since I didnít have to, I didnít. I ate unhealthily because I had the time to indulge in it. Well, actually I didnít have the time as I would frequently stay late to make up for the long lunches.
To make matters worse, while I was with my friends for those two hour lunches, all I did was eat bad food and complain about my job, which is not uncommon. Many professionals squander their coffee and lunch breaks in this manner. According to Aslett, the average coffee break does little to increase productivity. ďBut it does accomplish the spread of gossip and contempt and criticism of the employer, customers, etc,Ē he writes. ďBreaks can be spent in much healthier positive ways.Ē
Contrast the above experience to another job I had where I was not permitted to eat at my workstation. I had to punch a clock in and out for a 30 minute lunch and one 15 minute break. Since I was being timed, I always packed my lunch and kept an apple or pretzels for my one break. After just a few months of bringing my lunch and eating a healthy snack, I lost five pounds! And this is because I didnít have the luxury of frequent vending machine trips and two hour lunches. I discovered that a half hour was time enough to eat, jot down notes for writing projects, read and exchange a few pleasantries with co-workers.
I developed these habits out of necessity, but decided to make them part of my healthy lifestyle. I no longer center my breaks around food. Iíll eat a little then walk around the block, write in a journal or have a brief uplifting conversation with a colleague.
So instead of feeling frustrated and lethargic from complaining and bad eating, I return to my work refreshed, uplifted and ready to produce.
Taking breaks to recharge and refuel is crucial to success. Make sure you use this time wisely!