My workspace has gone from suburban to rustic, as I sit at the cottage, creating lists and negotiating conference calls, as birds tweet, geese squawk and a big lake ripples in the sunshine, just feet away from the glass sliding doors of the new table that houses my laptop.
Before leaving for his conventional job, my husband said, "why don't you take a walk down the road and shmooze with the neighbors - or go for a run to the gravel pit?"
I looked at him incredulously. On a work day?
I've been working from home since 1989. The thought of taking a shmooze break - or even a walk break - is bizarre to me. Until now, my breaks have been dropping my daughter at school at 7 am, picking her up at 2:15 pm and re-immersing myself in work, usually making crucial phone calls from the speaker phone in my car en route. My husband's former wife never worked. But now he is married to me - a woman who has identified herself as a working woman from the time I graduated college, through three children and beyond. And while, as a doctor, my husband works 24/7, answering phone calls at 3 am, he has been able to preserve the sanctity of his home somehow. Home, to him, means relaxing. Wow, what a concept!
I explained to him that the computer goes on first thing in the morning as I attack my tasks, one by one, until the to-do list is completed, usually by midnight or so. Until now, I've eaten my meals over the computer, and even the bathroom was frequently a convenient place to send a quick text message or email via my smart phone (okay, I realize that's probably TOO MUCH INFO).
Bottom line is - a shmooze break is not in my vernacular. There is no water cooler to entice me. And a coffee break involves making and drinking a quick pot of coffee. Hunched over my keyboard, as the pretty lake ripples out the window.
But I do take breaks. My breaks are usually brief - checking Facebook or Twitter to see what friends are saying or what is happening in the world. Working on my recent wedding, a quick run to the supermarket, throwing a candlelit supper together for dinner (no more cereal and milk over my keyboard for supper), marketing my house and figuring out how to pack - that's all a break from the client load, although it is hardly a break from the grind of planning, executing and crunching numbers. I guess there are breaks and there are breaks.
How do YOU take a break from work?