Nancy was sitting at her desk trying desperately to calm her wildly beating heart. From the moment she sat down at her desk, she had been working nonstop and juggling all these projects that were due by the end of the week. Her palms were sweaty just thinking of the deadlines before her. How was she supposed to get all these projects done when she could barely keep herself together? It seemed impossible.
Then her phone alarm went off. She nearly jumped out of her skin. Then she remembered: She had set her alarm to give herself some time to take a walk. The very thought of escaping the mile-high stack of paperwork on her desk gave her such joy and relief. She got up and nearly bolted out of the office.
The warm sun greeted her as she exited the building. She took a deep breath, taking in the many scents around her, and started her trek around the courtyard. The wind caressed her face as she walked, helping to clear her mind. She chuckled to herself as she thought about her job. She loved her job, but it seemed nearly impossible to get everything done.
An article that she had read about how to increase productivity in the workplace came to mind suddenly. It had talked about the importance of breaks and working on one project at a time. She had nearly forgotten about it. She felt silly, thinking about how she spent the morning frantically trying to balance all the things she needed to do. She decided then and there that she would follow what the article said.
Her phone alarm went off again as she finished her circuit around the courtyard. She felt eager and ready to get back to her desk. When she sat down, she categorized the projects she was working on and decided what project she would start on first.
There Nancy was, sitting at her desk and her heart beating calmly. She had a soft smile on her face as she started on her work. Before long, she finished the first project and moved on to the second, then the third, fourth, fifth, etc. By the time the workday ended, she was nearly done with her assignments – and it was only Tuesday.
She left the building, feeling proud of herself and grateful that she had remembered that article on increased productivity.
What can we learn from reading Nancy’s story? How can we integrate breaks into our work schedule? What would it look like to take on projects one at a time?