When you’re striving for things in your work-life or career, taking time out can seem either an unnecessary indulgence or a logistical impossibility. How can you possibly take time away when there’s so much to do, tasks unfinished or people relying on you?
We recently had a holiday. An actual holiday… proper time out… away from home, work, and all the noise and routine of regular life. It’s the first time we’ve done this since before the pandemic. And, oh my, it’s been a long time coming and so very welcome.
We opted for a short road trip to a part of Australia I’ve never explored.
The preparation and getting underway seemed strangely foreign after such a long time. But the muscle memory quickly kicked in and we regained our footing as the seasoned travellers we’ve always been.
A few days in and the change for both of us was extraordinary… I was reminded of the importance of “taking a break”.
You’re not shirking your responsibilities by taking a break
Whether you plan a holiday, a weekend break, or even an hour or two off, taking a proper break from your work routine is important for increasing your productivity, improving your wellbeing, restoring your energy and focus, and boosting your creativity.
Almost counterintuitively, if you’re stuck, stressed, or frustrated with a work-related issue, taking a break is one of your best options for solving the problem at hand.
We humans are designed in a way that best responds to short bursts of pressure. But the last few years have thrown us into a prolonged state of stress. Left unchecked, this leads to chronic stress with very real associated health problems.
A side-effect of the pandemic has been our inability to recognise when we need to take a proper break. But the thing is, if you’re not feeling energised, motivated, and fully engaged in your work… there’s a high likelihood you’re in need of some time out.
Why it’s important for you to schedule time out from work
1. YOU’LL FEEL BETTER
This might seem obvious but removing yourself from your day-to-day (life and work) routine, also removes your everyday stressors, leaving you feeling less anxious. Breaking your regular routines gives you the opportunity to restore yourself mentally and physically. Taking time out also provide an alternative perspective which can be a highly useful circuit breaker for negative patterns of circular thinking or rumination.
2. IT BOOSTS PRODUCTIVITY & CREATIVITY
There are so many new and wonderful things out there in the world to see. With a refreshed mind and change of environment, whether you visit somewhere you’ve never been or attempt a new hobby, creative and innovative ideas will naturally generate and you’re more likely to have those “a-ha” moments. Research shows that taking even a short break is one of the quickest routes to achieving inspiration.
3. PUMP UP YOUR MOTIVATION
When you spend too much time focussed on one thing, especially if that one thing isn’t going well, it’s very likely you’ll end up disappointed and wanting to give it away. Redirecting your attention to new and different ideas helps to renew and strengthen your motivation. If you’re working on something requiring considerable time or effort, scheduling breaks, or turning to other tasks is one of the best ways to remain motivated on completing the project at hand.
4. YOU’LL LEARN MORE
When you’re absorbing lots of new information, getting rest is necessary to review and ingrain what you’re learning. We all know that getting the right amount of sleep is important for our physical and mental wellbeing. But there’s also evidence that getting rest of any type replenishes your attention and solidifies your memory-making capabilities.
5. YOU’LL HAVE FUN & ENJOY TIME WITH LOVED ONES
Let’s be honest, even if you love what you do, when you’re feeling stressed or drained by work, you’re probably not much fun to be around. Spending quality, undistracted time with friends or family might just be the perfect antidote to a stressful period of work. This time re-establishes your social bonds and strengthens your support network, leaving everyone in your circle feeling refreshed and renewed.
Taking a break is essential for restoring the energy, motivation, and clarity of thought you require to focus on and achieve a career you love.
But sometimes it seems easier to put it off for another time when things are… easier, quieter, less busy etc. Stop waiting for the perfect time and do something your mind, body and career will thank you for. If you’re feeling stuck figuring out the next move in your career, let’s chat about the steps you need to take.