As I stare at the clock on the far right hand side of my trusty MacBook Air, 18:44 chimes in. I’m technically in the middle of preparing an exposé, but it’s the same exposé I seem to have lost my whole weekend to…and funnily enough I’ve only added one slide over that whole time. But 18:44 just says one thing to me, I’m obliged to wait 16 minutes until I can start work again, because it makes sense to start working again at a round number, and whilst 18.50 is only six minutes away, what harm can waiting an extra 10 minutes to complete the backlog of work I’m saving for myself, for all the time I know I won’t actually have in the near future.
By Laura Rose Brown
Now it’s 19:01 and by some sort of cruel twist of fate, I missed the satisfaction of seeing 19:00 on the clock, and so now the wait begins, just 9 minutes until I can attempt to once again salvage what is left of this ever growing shorter evening. And suddenly, there won’t be enough time to complete the piece of work that will take 1 hour and 15 minutes, because by the time I’ve cooked enough to feed 3 small families, washed my hair 8 times because why not, learnt another foreign language (which unfortunately isn’t Arabic) and face timed every friend I’ve made in the last 4 and half years, I’ll only have an hour left. So why start?
It’s a vicious circle when a perpetual break taker gets into the mindset that there’s no point in starting because finishing isn’t feasible.
I recently deployed a new tactic, to break out of the double edged sword scenario of living life on a study break. Studying with friends. Sounds like a fantastic idea, what better than two brains, one room and shared notes? Well it turns out that comedians on youtube, snapchat bunny filters, discussing the various campus instagrams and complaining about our lack of time, all seem better, at the time.
It turns out, after all this, I realise I have a lot of time on my hands, and now that we are adults it’s down to us, as adults, to manage it. I manage it, by waiting for round numbers. But this also means I manage my time by waiting for time to pass, which suddenly seems much less healthy.
This article isn’t about my love for round numbers, even though I’m certainly one to wince when the car stereo is left at volume 39, it’s about all the little odd numbers of minutes that I quite spectacularly seem to lose in a day, on the premise that I’m waiting to start. Breaks are good for us, or at least that’s how Mothers classically consoled us, at the age of sixteen, when exams felt like the weight of the world. But breaks can be problematic, especially when you are a chronic break taker like myself. It’s the moment when you reflect on the day behind you, and the realisation that 1 hour of work took 5, and it’s the heart wrenching feeling you get on a sunday evening, because you’re aware you just had 48 hours of complete freedom from the gated community of Sciences Po Menton, but that if you had to quantify what you did in that time, the easiest way would be to look at the four online shopping baskets open on google chrome and your netflix recent history.
They say the first step towards recovery is accepting you have a problem. Well, my name is Laura Rose Brown, and I am a breakaholic.