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  • Writer's pictureJames G Yeo

The Author's Corner: Coffee Break

For most people that first coffee break sets the day, no matter which shift you are on as it is the one we all look forward to. Most of us have a coffee or tea before we go to work to start our day off on the right foot, if that is possible as going to work is sometimes not looked forward to. I have been there many times as a chef.

What works best is to take that break to plan what the weekend holds for us. I spent most of my working career in the hospitality industry as a chef and my weekends were always Monday and Tuesday, until I got to the point where I was in a managerial roll, then days off were seldom. As for coffee breaks in that industry, rarely came as it is an industry where every minute counts. That was the reason why I took up smoking cigarettes as it would give me a ten minute window before the supper rush, and my only break of the day. I know what you are thinking about that way of working of not having breaks, that is just how the kitchen works.

As for holiday seasons, the chefs always work and on those days it is known as a black out day which means that you can not book it off. Something that I do not miss now as I am in a different career where I can set my own hours.

I did leave the kitchen a couple times to work in the butcher shop to learn a different angle on the preparation of the meat before it comes to the cook. That was a 9 – 5 job and where I was getting breaks I was not use to that. However, each time that I would leave the kitchen I would find myself back in it. In 2020 after COVID closed down the restaurant I was working in I made the choice to retire and follow a dream.

Now back to that morning coffee after you have been at the office. To do one thing is that the first part of the day is to get ready for the duties that you need to do. Then comes the coffee and after that fifteen minutes you are ready to start the day. As the afternoon coffee break comes, it singles that the day is just about done and for the things that are pressing to be finished before you leave for home you are able to get it done.

The best time for the coffee or tea, depending on what you drink, is always in my opinion to be in the morning before going to work. The reason I say this is because it gives you a chance to put the day into perspective of what you got to do. If you use this time before going to work to get into a positive frame of mind before you leave to your job. This is something that will give you a better outlook on the day and with a smile on your face you can start the day better at work.

Being positive and ready for work when you leave the house will set in place the way the day is going to go. I say that because I have seen it from my own personal experience when someone is positive they bring the mood of the working environment up. It also is contagious, that smile from your boss lets say or the person working the front desk that you have to see for the jobs that are up for the day.

To carry this into your coffee break during the day also will help people who are having a bad day, unless they always think negative and there are those people. They never smile and tell how that world has done this and that to them. We all know who they are and most of us avoid them as much as possible.

The coffee break no matter which one it is or when you take it, it is the fifteen minutes to relax. Something that I did what a breathing exercise when I was working at the butcher shop. For those fifteen minutes I would sit in the break room and focus on my breathing. I had asked my boss if I could take my break after everyone else and he asked why. I told him and he was okay with that and it meant that he did not have to help customers that came in during the break that everyone was taking. So, if you are able to set when your coffee break is, try to focus on your breathing which will relax you and for the next few hours before your lunch break or being done for the day will go smoother.

As now where I have a schedule for my writing, I make my coffee and start to work. Some days I work all day long without no real coffee breaks. What I do is after I am done a page or two I will go for a five minute walk around the house, fill up my coffee cup, check my emails if I have not done that task yet. I have that ability to adjust my schedule which is nice. Most of you have a schedule that is given to you by your employer, however, by taking that one coffee break to just focus on your breathing for five minutes will help you.

There is so much that happens to us at work and in life that taking time to step out of it is our true coffee break no matter the time. Stay positive and smile.

Stay safe

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