The Break Dance

Summer is about to start, officially. This is a time when the urge to work slows down and hours are wasted gazing out windows at sunny scenery. Idea man and dealmaker Spin Williams knows all about this – though it is no longer an issue in his company.
Spin is also an efficiency expert!

Here at The Meeting That Never Ends, we’re always trying to find new ways to hike our productivity to levels far beyond those posted by other idea factories. That’s why we moved to the Around The Clock Meeting paradigm in the first place – we were simply taking too much time convening and adjourning our conferences, planning them and scheduling them and re-convening and re-adjourning, etc. Valuable inspiration-generating time was being being burned the same way your car guzzles gas on jackrabbit starts from a red light!

Now that our meeting is constantly in session, we’ve been able to dispense with pleasantries and stay productive 24/7 courtesy of regular breaks! Yes, experts from famous high-productivity workplaces like The Mayo Clinic and The New York Times agree that people do better when they interrupt their workflow with some down time. So at TMTNE, we work for twenty minutes, break for ten minutes and repeat, ad infinitum. That means in a typical day we can have up to 48 productive discussions! And people still get 8 whole hours off every single day, which is plenty of time to get some sleep, or a little food, or a bit of both! If they want to skip a nap or a meal, they can change clothes or spend intensely focused quality time with a relative or some sort of friend. Who needs more than that?

Not only does our perpetual professional parley promote productivity, it discourages a host of other social and environmental ills. With no time for employees to go “home”, there’s no longer any need for the economy to support a domicile outside the workplace! Land-use stresses are reduced. Commuting is no longer a problem. Romance is still possible, but it’s limited to ten minute interludes. That’s better because it reduces unwanted pregnancies (you have to be very focused and intentional) and keeps the mystery alive. Casual “dalliances” become a thing of the past – there’s simply no time to dally. Domestic unrest is unheard of – every conflict is a workplace situation of one sort or another, which can be easily handled by the experts in the HR department. Children are raised and educated in a series of meeting of their own, which happen just down the hall. When we go on vacation, we go together and keep working! Under this system we could (and sometimes do) switch to a year-round holiday schedule without losing a moment’s productivity because time off is simply a calculation that happens as part of the paperwork.

Some people (i.e. Corporations) call our company a “cult” or a “commune”, but I think name-calling by the competition is a sure sign that you’re doing something right! I’d love to hear what you think of our plan, but the meeting is about to resume. Let’s touch base in twenty minutes!

Efficiently yours,
Spin

I think Spin’s scenario is the wave of the future! This is where we’re headed, but I’ll have to become much more productive if I’m ever going to make it happen.

How often do you need to take a break?

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139 thoughts on “The Break Dance”

  1. Good morning. I’m retired so I why do I need to work or take breaks, right? Well, I do try to get some things done. The pace at which I do things has slowed down for the most part. I do take breaks now and then with no regular pattern or if I am working really slowly it might be hard to tell when I am taking a break and when I am working.

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  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I require many breaks to get through a day. I especially like to get up and MOVE. Monday I went to several trainings in the morning and evening to collect my CEUs and thought I might explode of sitting-still-itis. On a regular workday I can read some TB on a break, but I rarely have time any more to contribute during the day.

    Here is another concept to spin Spin. People can take a break to tune into YOU, as I will do today!

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    1. P.S. Yesterday’s breaks were very fun. Everytime I read more about Baboon sideliines I could add another novel skill to a long list (fake fruit, fermentation, camp…). Fascinating stuff ‘boons.

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  3. I get up early because with my slow work pace, I need to get an early start. The rest of you, except Jacque, don’t seem to need to get started early this morning.

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    1. If I understand things, Jim, you have nothing to do now but you have to get up early in the day in order to have enough time to do it. That’s just about a perfect description of retirement.

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  4. I’m also retired, although I enjoy breaks from the routine of day-to-day life in retirement. Since I live alone, what I require mostly is breaks from being alone, the more the better. Just having a plan to take a break is a joy. Any time I have something planned that involves new country or new people, the anticipation is almost better than the doing.

    Tomorrow Krista and I will meet up at my cabin for four days of a break along the South Shore. We’ll be on Madeline Island Saturday, I think. Is that your day to do Madeline on Mopeds, Robin?

    I see WordPress is being a poopyface again today.

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    1. I wish! No, sadly my weekend on Madeline Island was cancelled due to my friend’s husband being hospitalized. Maybe later this summer or fall . . . Have fun awl j’all!

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    2. Make sure you don’t take STH 13 from Superior. A culvert washed out at Morrison Creek and left a 15′ wide chasm. You’ll have to take 13 from Ashland.

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  5. Morning all! I’m not nearly as good about taking breaks as I should be. I’m a “get it done and out of the way” kind of folk. So I am very good about forging ahead, keeping my nose to the grindstone, etc.! But when I finish a task, then it’s finished, so the break that comes after is very sweet to me!

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    1. I’m exactly the same way. Back when I worked for agencies and had account executives to explain to the client why the work was late, I could be very relaxed about deadlines. Now that I am on my own, I’M the one that would have to do the explaining. Consequently, when I have an unfinished project, I can’t really relax until it’s finished. That sometimes means I’ll stay up all night to see it through.

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    1. Duluth, also – the Duluth Tribune had a big article on their website. They mentioned both the neighborhood where my sister and brother-in-law live – Fond du Lac, along the river – and the area where my mom is – Mt. Royal (near UMD), the intersection at Woodland Ave. & St. Marie Street stated as flooded in the article is a block or so from my mom’s apartment.

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      1. I was just there Friday – Monday and am glad I came back when I did, but I can’t help but worry about my relatives and friends there — my friend from Vermont is there visiting her mom, who lives a stone throw away from my mom – I’m guessing she might not be able to take her flight out on Thursday.

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      2. A report sent me on fb: It is crazy here boys. The Skunk blew her banks on 6th ave by the bus garage. It was a roaring river down that street and the houses were turning into houseboats. Hwy 61 closed from Superior Shores to Betty’s cuz the road was flooded. Tunnels in Duluth closed. silver cliff tunnel closed. People living on Fors road told to stay home…too much of the road washed out. Folks evacuated from some homes in Knife River.

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      3. Storm update. It sounds like travel is not recommended–and may be impossible anyway–all the way from Duluth to Two Harbors. The zoo in Duluth is badly flooded. A polar bear and seal escaped their flooded enclosure, with the seal getting out of the zoo. Both are back safe now. The animals in a petting zoo have been drowned.

        Barb and Steve’s place near Blackhoof is not very close to a river, nor did the land seem very low to me.

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        1. My sister & brother-in-law live on the St. Louis River in the Fond du Lac area. Last report – the river was up to the deck. The gas tank was floating upside down. I was surprised the phone was still working. I probably won’t hear much again for a while, I’m hoping they are headed for higher ground.

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        2. Edith, I certainly hope they’re all right. Do they have a life boat? And I don’t mean that facetiously.

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        3. They have a boat, although looking at pictures of the river, I think it might be just plain stupid to take the boat out on it…it’s usually pretty calm there (not at all like the thundering rapids a few miles up river at Jay Cooke State Park), but I’m pretty sure it’s not calm out there today.

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  6. I take lots of breaks at work. My eyes start to blur and I start to feel like everything is settling around my hips, so I get up and take a walk around the ponds. The ospreys have two chicks to feed and the red-winged blackbirds dive-bomb me because I’m too close to their nests. There are black raspberries ripening in the restored prairie areas but I have Peter and the blackbirds to compete with for those!

    I’ll be taking a break at Steve’s cabin on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. No more storms, please! BTW – hope Barb in Blackhoof is doing okay!

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    1. Krista! You are here early today. Thnk of me up at he cabin as you gaze off the cliff out to the lake. Lou and I are probably headed to Bayfield 3rd week of August.

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  7. To put up with my day job, I take quite a few breaks. I shouldn’t. I feel a little guilty about it. I do it anyway. One of my co-workers takes “non-smoke breaks.” He says that he shouldn’t be discriminated against because he’s a non-smoker, so he takes the same breaks that smokers do but just does his own thing. I like that philosophy.

    I’m always amused by the ‘official’ starts of seasons. I know, it’s the solstices and the angle of rotation on the axis of the earth in relation to the sun. But just the sound of the ~official~ starts and ends of seasons makes me think that there’s a little old lady in a dusty corner office with an old style notary public crimper and a rubber stamp. You hear that slam of the stamp on the paper and a little pen scribbling of initials and they hand you this fifty page document and say, “Ok, it’s official. Take this to the National Weather Service and tell them to start summer.”

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    1. And then there’s “meterological summer”:
      Meteorologists, on the other hand, simply declare June, July, and August as “meteorological summer”. Not too surprisingly, September, October, and November are “meteorological fall”, December through February are meteorological winter, and March through May are “meteorological spring”. I suspect this convention simply makes record keeping and climatic data analysis a bit simpler. The definition is not too far off the astronomical definition of the seasons, and it corresponds nicely to our feeling about seasons starting and ending times (at least in our northern hemisphere mid-latitude climate).
      http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/1997-12/875882856.Es.r.html

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  8. Happy Solstice, everyone! I need to take a lot more breaks than I do. I tend to get “goal-oriented” and focus just on finishing, only realizing afterwards (or after making a significant mistake) that my eyes/wrists/head/butt hurts and I’m exhausted. The question is particularly appropriate today, because I’ve put in overtime both days this week. My drive to finish is particularly dangerous at work because when I’m tired I have a tendency to switch numbers around, so if I’m searching for Bates numbers for a production my results could get very funky indeed, and then I’d have to put in yet more work to finish by the deadline. At home it usually just results in several rows of knitting or stitching getting ripped out and a bit of swearing (no, this hasn’t happened to me recently, why do you ask ? ).

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  9. On Cathy Wurzer’s show they said this AM that this is the biggest rainstorm in Duluth since one in the early 1970s. I was a witness to that one. I was driving one of the big streets paralleling the lake–1st St, I think–during a frog-strangler thunderstorm. Water pressure built up in the storm sewers because far more water was hitting the sewers than they were designed to take. What does a manhole cover weigh . . . one of those massive cast iron things? Maybe 60 or 80 pounds? Whatever it is, the water pressure got too much for them. As my car moved along the street, manhole covers were blowing, each one popping up in the air maybe 30 feet, twirling in the air above the street like a big tiddlywink. I saw three go like that.

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    1. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard the phrase “frog-strangler thunderstorm”…
      Lucky you didn’t get under one of those manhole covers!

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      1. I think the storm I was in was earlier in the year, Clyde. We only lived in Brule in the summer. I understand there was a terrible storm in September and a lesser one in August. That would be the one.

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  10. OT-As of 9 AM today I have a new sideline-Ice Cream Flavor namer finalist. I entered a Kemps contest and am now one of 10 finalists. If I win Kemps will make my flavor-Mini Donuts as a “throwback flavor” and I will get my picture on a carton of ice cream. This appeals to me in the strangest ways possible. If any baboons would like to help me out you can vote for my entry at http://www.kempsnextflavor.com/ The voting lasts until July 11th and you can vote for me and the donuts every day.

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  11. I’m always delighted to take a break as often as I can justify one, and I’m skilled at justifications. Yesterday I thought a break for ice cream was extremely easy to justify.

    Today it’s supposed to start raining by about noon and I may use that as an excuse to take a lo-o-o-ng break.

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    1. Here it looks like it will rain any moment, so I recommend some pre-break preparation for the long break this afternoon–gather any CD’s, DVD’s, ice cream, popcorn necessary for a restorative break.

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  12. The news from Duluth, especially at the Zoo, is awful. We are supposed to go to a hand bell workshop in downtown Duluth near the Holiday Inn next Wednesday. Did that part of town flood? I am not familiar with Duluth anymore.

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    1. The flooding was mostly in the land just south of downtown Duluth, right where the zoo is, and of course any land near the Saint Louis River. I-35 runs through downtown Duluth, and it suffered flooding in two of those tunnels, so there would probably be no traffic moving there. I’d doubt there is actual flood damage to the Holiday Inn, though you will sure want to keep track of things. Good luck.

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      1. Reports are it’s only going to get worse as they get more rain. My mom said that last night alone there was 8 inches of rain in some parts of Duluth – and they were already saturated with heavy rains over the past couple weeks. When I was making various phone calls to people there, the rain had stopped – but then it started up again before I got off the phone – a torrential downpour.

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        1. Really? My sister lives in Duluth and she posted something similar – “should have built an ark instead of a garden fence.” Seriously, that would have been a good idea – I’m hoping her house survives (and her, too, of course).

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  13. It depends on how far behind I am on whatever project I’m on at the time.
    I am a champion putzer. I’ll take a break from the real job to check email, again, or read the blog or organize bolts or clean off the work bench.
    But I also hate to leave a project in the middle. There has to be a good consise stopping point.

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  14. “It’s hard to be your own boss when you have no respect for yourself as an authority figure.”
    I can’t find a source for the quotation but it has been amusing me for years, as I sometimes channel a surly adolescent of the “I don’t have to do that.” kind. I seem to have no problem with frequent and extended breaks, detours, and distractions. “Working in my garden” can mean sitting in the shade reading a novel or watching birds, bugs and butterflies or letting neighborhood kids “help” me.

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    1. Just spent two hours weeding in the garden with my almost 12 year old god child. She’s a terrific little helper, and did a great job. She’ll be back for two more hours tomorrow. Time for a lunch and a long break.

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      1. The teenager is often surprisingly willing to help out with the weeding and yardwork. I say surprisingly because when she was younger, we had to have enforced helping in the yard every now and then.

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      2. certain kids can be great in the garden. 2 years ago I taught a 5 year-old to transplant strawberry plants. She was sooo great and patient, followed directions and did not get tired or bored, just took charge.

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  15. My whole life is a break, interspersed with a client here, a client there. Since I have a home office in my cottage on Crystal Bay, I have the luxury of slipping out to the lake swing frequently. I awaken each day to the sunrise over the bay, always filling me with gratitude for the abundance in my life. Once in a great while, a client asks to sit outside for a session. I’ve discovered that this doesn’t work very well because the therapy of nature overwhelms the therapy a human can provide.

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  16. Having read recently about the positive effects of standing up every 20 minutes, I am trying to do that at least – whether it’s standing up to talk to a co-worker instead of calling across the wall or getting up to take a short walk around the office. I work with a team of chatters, so breaks happen sometimes whether I want them to or not. :D

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    1. My wife gets back pains if she sits too long. Working for a large medical institution based in Rochester, she has to follow all the protocols and jump through hoops to get things changed. She’s met with the ergonomics team, she’s gotten different chairs. She really wanted one of those large balls for chairs but admin doesn’t approve them. They tell her ‘get up and walk around often’. Right. That works when you remember and you’re not engrossed in reports with a deadline looming. She’d love a ‘stand up workstation’ but again, she’s stuck following the rules of the Man…

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      1. I set reminders for myself in my calendar for awhile…it helped until I was in a rhythm of just standing up periodically. I don’t know that I always manage every 20 minutes, but a couple times an hour. And I also have an exercise ball that I sit on – can’t sit on it all day because it’s not quite right for my desk height, but I try to sit on it part of the day at least. Got a lot of teasing about joining the circus when I first got it.

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      1. Thank you, Donna……..this is a signature song for me and I haven’t heard it in years. I’m wondering how several of you are able to post these videos????

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  17. Sometimes we have a “wildlife break” here. Just got a call from our neighbor, who says “There’s a wild turkey in your driveway.” Out we go, find the camera…

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    1. We get those here at work from time to time, too – we occasionally spot eagles riding the thermals north of us, sometimes there are hawks looking for lunch nearby as well.

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  18. I’m in the goal and task oriented camp, not good at taking breaks when I’m in the middle of a project. Now that I’m retired, I can pretty much set my own schedule, and I’ve gotten pretty good at goofing off, if I do say so myself.

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    1. We need to get you some kind of pretty trophy engraved with something like “Good At Goofing Off.” It would sit proudly on the same sort of shelf where Anna Keeps her “Top Village Idiot” trophy.

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  19. I was in Petoskey and Charlevoix all day being a tourist. Apparently Lake Michigan is now a private lake. Anyway got back to stories and images from TH friends. Many can not get away from their homes and/or have heavy damage. Some in places you do not believe can flood in the way they did. Most are fine. More rain coming.

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    1. It’s unbelievable. I was watching the videos and photos from the Duluth News Tribune site and was amazed at all the places I recognized from when I was there just a couple days ago. I did not see any photos of my sister’s house floating down the St. Louis River so I hope that is a good sign. I hope your friends stay safe, Clyde.

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  20. Announcement: a contact in Cornucopia says it is possible to sneak into my cabin on back roads, so Krista and I are going. We might be in touch. Krista has an old laptop that is coal-powered and unreliable, but if she can get a good head of steam in it we might check in Friday or Saturday. Have a loverly weekend, baboons!

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  21. # of breaks depends on how many cups of coffee I’ve had.

    In case you missed it yesterday, Babooners are invited to my cabin (it’s not really mine but it’s fun to call it that) at Spirit Lake, IA the weekend of July 21. Lake weekends run Friday through Monday, btw.

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  22. Donna – I can’t find any place to type in a URL – I’m super low-tech. I searched around and just don’t know where you mean? Address bar??

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    1. CB Yes, copy the address in the address bar and then paste it.

      couldn’t resist this. Cohen’s voice is breaking in Dance Me to the End Of Love so I think it is on topic.

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    2. The address bar is where you type the “address” of the website you want. For example, when you visit the Trail, you type in daleconnelly.com

      To post a link, just go to the video or whatever you want to post, then highlight and copy (control-C on a PC) the address in the address bar, come over here, and paste (control-V) the link in your comment. Does that make sense?

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        1. Darn – didn’t work! Guess I don’t know how to follow your directions. I pasted the video’s URL after erasing daleconnelly.com. Maybe I shouldn’t have erased it??

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        2. find your video (works with youtube not with some others) copy the title (where is says daleconnelly on this page) copy it and then hit the paste button where you normally type in the comment. dont mess with dale at the top of this page. on here it all happens in the leave a reply area.

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