Distraction and breaks

I’ve basically done nothing this Thanksgiving break.  Oh, I made Thanksgiving dinner, attempted to rescue the house from the clutter build up from weeks of a busy life, and even got a Christmas tree.  But that Arduino project I brought home? The reading I was going to do? Lost to TV, iPad games and board games with my family.  Whenever, I find myself lost in a silly game, I usually recognize two things.  One, I’m in need of a break from work, and two, there are better things I could do with my time.  I’ve often discussed on this blog the strange combination of Puritan work ethic and Catholic guilt that seems to permeate my thought processes.  And school breaks bring that two-pronged pitchfork down on my conscience fairly swiftly.  I have time, I think, to do some course planning, to work on a project, to read that book I’ve been wanting to read!  I’ll get back to my exercise routine!  But then I squander it, and then, on the last day, apparently, I blog about it.

I’m often lamenting the way my students cram too much into their day, and our faculty generally advocate for balanced lives for our students, and yet, I feel guilty if I pursue my own balanced life.  I think a break often tips me toward the relaxed end of the work-life balance spectrum and that prods me into feeling guilty.  It’s also true that I’ve been conditioned by the ebb and flow of the school schedule.  It is very much a work, work, work, work, long-ish break, work, work, work, even longer-ish break.  So rather than take smaller breaks each day, I cram all my relaxing into a long weekend, winter, or summer break.  Maybe the answer is a more steady work-relaxation pattern.  I’m not sure that’s achievable.   I’m staring down a week until CS Ed Week where I’m hosting a public event that includes a Rube Goldberg machine.  Robotics season is coming up and our robots are no where near finished.  And there are exams to make and grade as well as long-term planning for next year and for an in-service day and a new course second semester.  That’s in addition to the daily grind.

Usually, we make resolutions at the new year, but I find it useful to try to set good habits when it’s hardest to do so, amidst a very busy schedule.  So here are some things I’d like to stop and start doing:


  • Playing goofy games for hours
  • Watching random tv (meaning just sitting on the couch and flipping through the channels)


  • Exercising again
  • Reading more (in place of games and tv)
  • Putting things away
  • Spending time with family

We’ll see how this goes.  I’m aware that it takes time to change old habits, but I’m feeling the need to shift my actions, not dramatically, but slightly.

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One Reply to “Distraction and breaks”

  1. It is so nice to read I am not the only one. I was going to brush up on my Alice skills, do a little more dabbling in Python, clean up the dog poo in the back yard and get in some running. I got in the running, and it is still not to late for the dog poo but the rest takes a desire to concentrate. Vegetating over a break is just so nice.

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