As February begins, the holiday season starts to feel like a distant memory as we begin to go back to our usual routines, with schools returning, and the January holidaymakers returning back to work. So before we jump headfirst into regular life, let’s take a moment to remind ourselves about the importance of taking breaks from work. This post talks about how taking breaks (either long or short) can actually help you in the long run.
Give yourself breathing space for new ideas
A big part of work today is the need to be creative, use critical thinking and problem solving skills to generate new ideas and solutions. These types of tasks require a large amount of effort, often for what can feel like very little gain or results.
The important thing to remember is that although it might feel like you’ve not made much progress – maybe your first few ideas didn’t hit the mark – it still takes effort to generate, and develop those ideas to realise they aren’t suitable.
Now, if you find yourself facing that scenario, you have a few options. One is to just keep going (and maybe if you have an upcoming deadline, this is the only option), or you could give yourself some space from that work.
This will look different for everyone. It could mean working on some administrative (or other unrelated) tasks, or giving yourself permission to not think about a specific project for 8, or maybe 16, hours.
Taking time away from the work you’re doing will help you refresh, reset and just maybe – come up with a whole new perspective on the matter at hand.
Make sure you avoid burnout…
Another very important reason to take breaks – and not five minutes here and there, I mean genuine breaks – is to avoid burnout. It’s a phenomenon that’s becoming increasingly common in today’s workplace, and it can cost people their health, and companies their productivity.
There are a few stages to burnout, and it typically takes a while to reach a serious level, but it is nevertheless important to make sure you don’t come anywhere close to such a state. People who are burnt out are not able to be their best, not only in the workplace, but in their everyday lives.
…so you can do your best work
Finally, tied closely with the previous point, if you are burnt out (or just fatigued) chances are you are not doing your best work. That’s because burnout causes people to lack empathy, not care what their clients or colleagues will think of their work, and feel inadequate at work.
If you’re too tired to care about what you’re doing, chances are the output won’t be very good. Also, by trying to work through, you could be damaging your reputation and chances to be assigned new work or exciting projects (and that’s before considering your health).
With all that in mind, you owe it to yourself to take breaks this year.
Until next time,