How often do we set ourselves optimistic timelines and end up disappointing ourselves, because our body and mind demands a break.
Don’t allow yourself to be pulled down. Take that break! You need it and you deserve it.
I am currently in the privileged position that I have 2 days a week for non-client work, on which I am meant to do my writing, catch up with accounts, prepare, and in future hold workshops. In other words I am flexible. The last few years have been tough on me. Add an autoimmune disease into the equation and you can imagine my body begs for rest once in a while. I had to learn to take deliberate breaks.
A few Facts
Let’s start with a few medical facts. I am a Nurse after all.
- If you work more than 50 hours a week your overall output will become less instead of more! Yes we need those breaks. Our body needs rest, our mind needs rest
- You do not switch off if you go from screen to screen. So being glued to your phone in your work breaks you are not switching off. A trap I fall into often enough myself. And when you get home don’t switch on the TV immediately. Reading an actual book instead of your Kindle is also better for you.
- You need to remove your eyes from the screen regularly for proper focus. – Read that again! It is actually recommended to remove your eyes from the key board, or put your pen down every 20min and look around.
- Forbes has the following suggestions in the article “The Most Productive Ways to take Breaks”
- Here is another blog with medical Facts “7 Science Backed Ways to Take Better Breaks”
Effective Breaks – Real Life Samples
I found it interesting that in the EPMO of my current client the Project Managers all have a preferred effective way to take breaks. It was really amazing to see this, since we have only come together in the last 1 year and only 2 had worked together before. Here are some examples
- Takes a nap every lunch break in your car – make sure you set an alarm
- Go to climb the stairs when the brain goes foggy
- Take a 10min power nap in the car
- Go and talk to a colleague – have a water cooler chat. Talk with the security guard or the cleaning Lady
- My own personal Best: The office is located next to Nairobi National Park and being on 5th floor allows amazing views. I go to the lift lobby and look for which game is around. Yesterday there were giraffes that hanged around the whole day. We often get buffalo, Hardee’s Beast, Impala, and at times even Rhino.
- I have a colleague who loves wildlife as much as I do and we call each other when we see something exiting. We call it a mini safari. Even the COO has his binoculars on his desk.
You need these short breaks and even the Kenyan Law allows for a tea break every morning and every afternoon.
During Lunch Break I regularly go for short walks, which also really refreshes your mind.
What to do on your days off
If you look around you will find the most effective people do great things during their days off. And hanging around bars is not part of this.
My all time favorite hobby is going out in nature! Every weekend I do something that takes me out into nature. Either I take a 3 hour walk with my group in Sigiria Forest.
Or I play golf, go for game drives if I find someone with a 4 wheel drive, or go for hikes, when my body allows.
Those who are not into sports can have simple garden parties or something where they spend time outside. Nature helps you relax.
It Is Ok to Rest
If you had planned a lot and then your brain switches off, or your physical body says no, please take a break. You deserve it! Once you have taken the break you will also feel that you are able to concentrate better and your output will be better.
For example I was going to write another chapter for my book today and start putting together a 1 day workshop that I have been working on. However in the morning my brain was foggy and I realized I need a break in nature first. So I went to Sigiria Forest. I know, you probably think, that way both the book and the workshop will not get done in good time. But think about this:
- Is your self-set deadline realistic?
- If you take an effective break you will have the energy to actually be more productive afterwards
- Some of your best ideas will come while you are out in nature – yes this is true!
So learn to listen to your body and take effective breaks. It is ok!