What’s your 5-minute break?
It takes a second for an idea to come knocking and a few more moments for the idea to shape up; but it takes about 5 minutes(personal assessment) for human beings to clear up their brains and make room for that idea. In this blog post, we call it the 5-minute break.
In whatever format your work life is, you & I both have a process to make our output rewarding(unless of course we completely detest what we do). Some of us are best early in the morning while some of us play owls. Some of us wonder about the world for 10 hours and have an hour of productive work; others sit, do and get going. There are many patterns and all effective professionals have discovered their own.
However, irrespective of our methods, we all do something that lets us refocus; something that provides that moment of clarity; something that lets us restart. Something that lasts 5 minutes but keeps us going for hours.
A cup of coffee? a whiff of fresh air? a funny conversation? Or maybe a drag!
I was having a conversation with a friend who is trying to quit smoking. We were discussing addictions when he mentioned that it’s that 5-minute addiction that’s so hard to give up. Yes, it’s not the 15 cigarettes that you smoke during the day that you need to worry about, it’s that 5-minute break which changes your fate.
Our 5-minute breaks eventually become our addictions. It’s something we cannot function without. So, if I need my fresh air to rekindle, I have to get it or I will suck at what I do. It’s unfortunate that instead of finding our own way, many of us start doing what others seem to be operating with; which is okay unless your peers are smoking.
Because “Your first cigarette is a choice, your second one isn’t.” All other kinds of breaks tend to take a while before they develop into a habit and steer our lives. A cigarette smokes you out too soon.
I was almost going to fall victim to this fancy break formula. When you watch 7 out of 10 colleagues getting up & going out for a smoke and then have all conversations you want to be a part of, it’s hard to not give yourself a chance. That chance I took and from 1 drag, it went to a cigarette and then suddenly one day, I saw myself buying it for people who can’t afford the addiction. Fortunately, I noticed the unwanted web that I was getting trapped in and decided to end it one evening. The experiment lasted a week or two but my first & last cigarette of this life are done with.
But 2 days back when I was talking to this friend, it dawned on me that there are very few who get to watch & stop before it’s too late. Coincidentally, last week I had started learning the violin. When I play or listen to anyone play the instrument, I tend to get carried away. I just don’t want to stop. I crave for that slow-moving time where everything seems blissful and my mind clears off. Yes, I feel addicted to the sound of music. But the big difference is that this addiction is anything but harmful. Once I stop, I can reorganize my thoughts, priorities my tasks and if nothing else, I will just be happier.
Something similar happens with writing. I may not write the greatest verse, the most enchanting poem or a heart stirring article, but I write. I make mistakes but I write. And it’s a great way to turn my world around for the better.
As I was telling this to my friend, I realized that our 5-minute break can sometimes add more years to our lives or in case of smoking, take away few.