When I first realized that I needed to reincorporate into my daily schedule some kind of break(s) for mental, spiritual, and physical rebooting and renewal, I seriously doubted it could be done. I knew, though, that I needed to at least try.

I thought back to all the people I’ve ever known who “fixed things” — friends and relatives who did their own car or home repairs, mended or altered their own clothes, etc.

The one thing all of them did first was to assess the problem and consider the options available to them.

For the next week, that’s exactly what I did.

I started out by jotting down a very brief, open schedule of my days. On a piece of notebook paper, I created 5 vertical sections: early morning, morning (8-lunch), lunch, afternoon (post-lunch to 3:45), and evening. Then I created 3 columns: Sunday, weekdays, Saturday.

For 5 days (3 weekdays and a weekend) I paid attention to what I did in each of those blocks of time, and when I had a minute to jot down a brief note (“checked fb”), I did.

I wasn’t legalistic about this process. I didn’t keep track of how much time I spent doing what I did unless it was a chunk of time of approximately 15 or more minutes. Why 15 minutes? No other reason but that it seemed reasonable and doable. I was careful, though, to jot down (as soon as I had a chance) everything I did during each block of time.

Each night, I very quickly glanced at what I’d done all day and added a few notes while my thoughts and feelings were fresh. For example, on Tuesday I made 2 very quick necessary phone calls while my granddaughters played independently and I sat in the rocker watching them. 

Those calls took less than 5 minutes total. I remembered that evening that even though the calls themselves were positive in nature, I felt stressed because I knew that at any second one of the girls might need/want my complete attention, have an ouchie that needed a kiss, etc. So I noted “+ stress — save for lunch break”.

 At the end of those 5 days, I had a pretty complete list of all the tasks and activities that I performed in each block of time.  

If you’re trying to find ways to incorporate breaks into your busy days, I urge you to first assess — in whatever way works best for you — what you’re facing. Look at your schedule and keep a record of what you do throughout the day and week.

That’s it . . . for now. Next Thursday (or perhaps earlier, if time permits), I’ll share my reaction to what my “time log” revealed and how I easily found more than enough time for at least one dedicated break and one or two on-the-fly breaks every day, even the busiest ones. 

In the meantime, I hope you’ll share your own experiences, successes, even frustrations with finding time to step away from the busy-ness of your day. Join the discussion by commenting here or on my facebook page (Patti Miinch).