There never seem to be enough hours in the day for many of us to get through all of our to-dos. But have you ever considered that the act of trying to cram so much work into such little time is actually counterproductive?
The summer months are often the time of year when many of us afford ourselves a vacation or at least some brief respites from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A week—or even a few days—can make all the difference, yet so few of us recognize the value in this on a smaller scale. Maybe instead of working, working, working to cash in those vacation days as the weather gets warmer we should be focusing on giving ourselves more regular breaks throughout the day!
Your brain is a machine and the more it works, the quicker it wears out. Let it recharge. Take breaks when you need them and you may find that the benefits that come from them actually help you produce better work. It’s when our brains are in top form that we get our best ideas and produce our best work. But fatigued brains and brains under stress are not in top form. In fact, in these states, we leave ourselves open to harming our mental health and wellbeing.
When it comes to taking breaks, get up, walk around, step away from the task at hand. “Put down your work and no one gets hurt.” For instance, in place of the fourth cup of coffee today, take a stroll with a friend or coworker instead. Head to a local café and read a good book over lunch. Physically removing yourself from your work environment and getting your body moving are incredibly restorative and great ways to spend your break time. (And remember, it’s not a lunch break if you’re eating with one hand and typing with the other!)
Of course, many health-promoting behaviors like this aren’t always easy to implement. But think of it this way, in the same way you can schedule a meeting, you can schedule a break for yourself. When you plan your day, just throw an extra item onto the to-do list: “Take a break.” And make sure that you check it off the list! Taking time for ourselves can sometimes feel unproductive but checking it off that to-do list can actually help you check off many more. Simply put: give yourself a break! You deserve it!