Newsletter #28 : Relaxation issue, pomodoro and massage

Andrew Weaver
February 15, 2021

Welcome to this weeks “5 Minute Tech Break” and we’re looking at the world of relaxation and how to switch off.

Manic workloads, busy personal lives, frantic family commitments – do you suffer from one or all of these things?

Most of us probably push ourselves too hard and don’t always build in sufficient amounts of “me” time … instead, we’re ruled by deadlines and those nasty tyrants, the green dot in Slack, the red alert on iphone.

We need to make a conscious effort to help ourselves and those around us, stay mentally and physically healthy.  

So we’ve brought together some articles we hope you find interesting and, relaxing!!  

Enabling you (using a famous counter culture phrase from the 1960’s) to “turn on, tune in, drop out” … for a few minutes at least!

Andrew and the CTO Academy Team

Rest, Spa Days and The Pomodoro Technique

Time management is for me a critical element of how you look after yourself at work.  The Pomodoro Technique is a method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals.  Tends to be based around 20-25 sessions, separated by a short break.  Each interval known as a Pomodoro .. the etymology being that the founder of this method used a tomato-shaped timer, Pomodoro being Italian for tomato.

It’s a method I try to use at work, where the short break involves a walk, chat, some fresh air, cup of tea etc.This hacker noon article looks at some simple ways to find the right work-life balance.  Focus on resting your eyes, plenty of rest and some personal pampering.

I’ve booked myself in for a Friday afternoon massage … can’t wait.  What’s going to be your “me” pamper this weekend?


How to switch off the brain … not literally!

Those of us who you might loosely describe as ‘techies’, can be workaholics.

We’re often in our own worlds when deep into a build, a new technology or even heads buried into our smart phones [Ed: that’s most people in the world!].

Some of us have an unwavering focus that defies time and space …. Work can also transport us to a different dimension where our families, friends, and loved ones can never journey … most of the time.

Later on, particularly during intense work phases, reality kicks us hard as the clock chimes 6am, when we thought it was just 3pm yesterday.

Eyes become heavy, bodies sore, yet our minds still want to decode the universe – feel familiar to anyone?

Insomnia is the number 1 arch nemesis of techies as a boss battle takes place between the hyperactive brain and our desperation for sleep.

How To Find Your Brain’s Off-Switch teaches us techniques on how to tell our brains that it really is time to rest, we’re humans not automatons! 

And of course what we do is generally desk bound, chair bound, sedentary based.  Sitting most of the week and again at weekends, will not lead to a healthy lifestyle … particularly if we’re ordering too much from Deliveroo.  

Those of you at the intersection of Sports and Tech, have no excuse!!


Go buy yourself a sports team …

Hey, the obvious extension from the previous article, for those with a few exits under their belt, is to go buy a sports team.

Doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get fit, but sure does give you a nice distraction from work.

And some say it caters for the altruistic side of billionaires.  Billionaires Are Buying Sports Teams For Different Reasons Than They Used To tells us that the motivation behind buying sports teams is not selfish at all. It’s all about leaving a legacy to all those who dreamed and pursued heir passion in life. 

In the meantime, you always get the best seat in the house and probably carry a significant loss on the balance sheet. 

Don’t feel guilty … massage helps the brain

So I’m sneaking off this afternoon for some therapeutic massage but, when you’re knee deep into an intense project, business or start up … you can feel a pang of guilt (obviously speaking about myself) that you’re not at your desk, working 25 hours per day.

Stop that.

Not only (as articulated above) do breaks matter.

Research tells (reassures) me that it’s good for the brain.

Research from the University of Miami suggests that massage elevates levels of dopamine, a neurohormone released by the hypothalamus. Dopamine influences fine motor activity like painting or playing a musical instrument. It affects intuition, inspiration, joy, and enthusiasm. Those lacking in dopamine will likely exhibit clumsiness, poor focus, and be easily distracted.

I will therefore be arriving at this afternoons massage, guilt free.

Book yourself an appointment and switch off.


Quote of the Day

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” – Chinese Proverb

May you all have a restful and fun-filled weekend!

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