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Being busy all the time can add to your stress and can even put you under emotional bind. As an outcome, it becomes tough to focus and think clearly.
To question, is to think.
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To think, is to introspect.
To introspect, is to seek.
To seek, is to be aware.
To be aware, is when the journey begins.
It’s been ages since you took a holiday.
Even Sundays or other holidays seem busy with work, family, calls, emails, messages, trying to hide work from family, trying to act that you are there with family… sounds familiar ?
Being busy all the time can add to your stress and can even put you under emotional bind. As an outcome, it becomes tough to focus and think clearly. Not to mention the health related issues like feeling edgy and irritated, sleeping disorder, and mood swings. Yet even the most rational of us go through this feeling that we can’t afford to take off — either for a short break during the day or a short holiday.
Think of your car. If it’s engine is overheated, and the coolant can’t cool it fast enough, the car would stall. Same is with our brain and the physical energy.
A look at the animal kingdom teaches us a lot. Even the fastest amongst the animals, get their break or downtime after a hunt. They take a break to regain back their strength and energy levels.
Sadly, most of the workforce industry — be it the corporate world, entrepreneurship, new age digital economy firms — continue to use time spent on work as a productivity metric. This has not only shaped our thinking that we need to put in more hours at / for work. Also there are many experts who push us to hustle and hustle more towards success. Will these build up success ?
For almost all of us, burn out is a syndrome that could be an outcome. We have to learn that it is ok to take a short break in a crazy day. It is ok to take short 2-day detox break or holiday to recharge. You don’t need to wait till you have ticked every item on your checklist. After all, have not you realised that longer your worked on a task, at times you got sidetracked or hazy. Welcome to the world. Most of us feel the same way.
Productivity is not getting things done. It is actually getting all those things well. To achieve higher quality of your work, you need to be at your peak performance. Work is like a marathon. It is not a sprint. In a marathon, you pace yourself. You listen to your body and it’s rhythm. Try the same with work. Take a break when your body or mind wants one.
We are wired to throw ourselves onto tasks which we think are difficult and which challenges us to find a solution. We forget that challenges need our creativity to help us find solutions. Creativity needs calm thinking and plenty of energies. This makes another reason for us to take a short break, before or in midst of our work pace.
There are more research that emerge every now and then to prove these. Be it that helps in talent engagement levels, or reducing work stress, or making workforce more productive.
Timing and duration counts
For some, a short 20 min break during the day helps. It could be to play a video game or simply chit chat over coffee or take a quick walking or running break.
For some, a hour long break is needed to get their batteries recharged.
For some, taking a quick day long break or a hiking trip helps them recharge.
The point is simple — Each of us have a recharge category that works well for us. You have to decide what type of break, for how long, and how frequently do you need one. To simple make you more productive and efficient.
Importantly breaks should not be your reward to yourself for completing your checklist. After all, you have a human identity than just your work. It’s okay to take a break …
— The author, Srinath Sridharan is a Corporate Adviser and Independent Markets Commentator. For other articles in the Coach Soch series, click here.
(Gender representation of his/he is only representative and the leadership learnings here are gender-neutral)