The Enjoyable Office: Ten Summertime Joy Breaks

Carla Rieger

Visitors: 396

Lily Tomlin once said, “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down. " It can be challenging to do that, however, once you get into overdrive. Joy Breaks may be your answer. One to ten-minute Joy Breaks can renew you throughout the day. When you let yourself have a few moments of enjoyment, your mood lifts—and your productivity and effectiveness can increase dramatically.

Business guru Tom Peters maintains, “The number one premise of business is that it need not be dull. It ought to be fun. If it's not fun, you're wasting your life. " Make sure you're not wasting that non-renewable resource known as time. Life is short. On your deathbed, you won't remember all the things you accomplished on your TO DO list; you'll mainly remember the precious moments of enjoyment.

"Children have more energy after a hard day of play than they do after a good night's sleep, " says Dr. R. F. Gumperson, a probability expert. Anything that is fun, playful, or that stimulates the creative mind is a good place to start. If you can learn to switch back and forth between work and play throughout the day, you may find you leave the office with a bounce in your step.

Gain the support of those around you by letting them know what you need, and where possible, include them. Instead of reaching for another coffee or a chocolate bar, consider some of these healthy alternatives for uplifting your spirit, relaxing your mind, and energizing your body.

1. Flowers

Go outside with a pair of clippers. Clip a few flowers. Put them in a vase, and place them in your work area.

2. Music

Play Baroque music to open up your creativity and soothe your mind. I suggest Vivaldi's Four Seasons (especially Summer). Use a headset if you don't want to disturb others nearby.

3. Mini-Golf

Many people love golf in the Summer, but don't have the time to get to the course. Take a few golf clubs and golf balls to each department. Have each department create a golf-hole—use whatever you can find: paper cup, trash can, etc. When you need to go to another department for a meeting or to get some information, you simply “golf" your way there. You can keep track of your score. Those who get a hole-in-one get a special prize.

4. Whoops Alert

We all make mistakes at work. If you are afraid of making a mistake, you may stop taking risks. Humour can help create an environment where mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn. Go to a novelty store to purchase some kazoos. Assign three co-workers a Whoops Kazoo. In the event of a severe stress, frustration, aggravation, annoyance, or glitch—a person may call out “WHOOPS!” - at which point the Kazoo Committee sounds the Whoops Alert. The Whoops Alert should only last less than a minute—then back to work.

5. Fun Scrapbook

Take to work a blank scrapbook. Set up a place for it in the staff room or waiting area. Provide glue, scissors, and tape. As a Joy Break, any employee can take a few minutes to add something to the Fun Scrapbook—a cartoon, favourite email joke, photos from a staff event, humorous ideas for dealing with challenging work situations, best “mistake" story, etc.

6. Tropical Retreat

Take a reclining lawn chair and sun umbrella to work. Put them up on the roof or in a sunny area near the office. Leave a pair of sunglasses and a travel magazine on the chair. Offer co-workers a fruit punch in a glass garnished with a little umbrella. Send on ten-minute tropical breaks with their refreshing punch. Rotate co-workers throughout the day.

7. Gratitude Walk

Go for a ten-minute walk. Observe five things you are grateful for or appreciate. They could be cloud formations, sunshine, the sound of children playing, the comfortable shoes you are wearing, etc.

8. Street Dance

Take a portable stereo out to the parking lot; invite everyone from the office to partake in a ten-minute dance break. Put on the Greatest Hits of the ‘70's, or swing music.

9. Vacation Planning

As we head into summer, you can take ten-minute breaks to plan your time off. Peruse travel books, make hotel reservations, write a note to relatives telling how you'd like to spend time with them, etc.

10. Popsicles

Take a popsicle mold to the office. Pour in your favourite juice. Put the pops in the freezer and during the mid-afternoon slump offer homemade popsicles to everyone in the office.

Use some of these activities, or make up your own. Create a list of ten things you can go do when your energy slumps, and put that list in a place where you will see it. Every time you do a Joy Break, check that activity off the list. Some people go so far as to give themselves a gold star. Positive reinforcement can help make joy a regular occurrence, and help you kick the worry habit. In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Life is too important to be taken seriously. "

May the FUN be with you!

Carla Rieger is an expert on creative people skills at work. If you want a motivational speaker, trainer, or leadership coach to help you stay on the creative edge, contact Carla Rieger.

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Tel: 1-866-294-2988


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