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Let me share a personal story with you. I recently got a part-time job in the evening, that requires me to be on my feet. On my very first night after about 3 hours, I was told I could take a break.
Now, in response to this, my inside voice exclaimed, “YES, we can sit down!”. But, I didn’t listen. Instead, I sucked in my gut, lowered my outside voice and said, “nah, I’m good”.
The young lady I was working with may have seen the pain in my eyes or maybe she heard the cries of my inner voice, because she looked at me with concern and said, “Are you sure”. My inside voiced begged me, “You are old, fat, tired and out of shape, please sit down!” Once again, tapping into my inner Rambo, I declared I was fine.
What is it about us that refuses to take a moment and sit down or stand up for that fact? Why can’t we stop and rest for a moment, refresh our minds and reboot? What is it that prevents us from walking away from a project or a problem to find a nice brief diversion?
We all know that physical breaks help us recuperate, so we can keep going. Don’t you think breaks from the mental drain of work would be useful as well? I do and I am convinced that taking a break can increase your productivity, help you deal with stress and avoid burnout. You can become more creative and enjoy work more. Here are 3 things I ask that you consider.
- Productivity: At this stage in my life I have learned the value of walking away for a moment and returning to a project. It seems to have the opposite effect of breaking a chain of thought. Its like steeping out of rut and coming at something from another angle. I sometimes stop to walk my dog and allow my mind to rest and not purposefully think about my work. I return with new thoughts, something funny or creative and often with a firmer resolve to finish the task at hand.
Let’s face it, this quote below comes from a group with the word science in their name. It bears much more weight than the opinions of a furniture salesman. Here is the link if you wanna go read more
“A new study in the journal Cognition overturns a decades-old theory about the nature of attention and demonstrates that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one's ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods.“
- It simply better for your health: Get up and walk around – It’s good for you to get some blood flowing, stretch a little, breath deep and get some Oxygen in that tired brain. A healthier you is simply a better all around you.
“Office workers who take short, frequent breaks during the workday have more stamina and fewer aches and pains when they return to work, a new study suggests. Breaks are particularly re-energizing if workers spend the time doing something they enjoy, the study found.”
- Get Inspired: Go see what you’re missing! Walk around the office and talk to folks, see what the rest of the team is doing. As you get the blood flowing the creative juices may stir as well.
Better yet, ask how they are doing. It may change perspective on a project, it may encourage you or even help steer you in a new & better direction. Talk and then listen. You could learn something new and get inspired!
Here is an article on taking breaks from Bustle with video captions. Check out #6!
Here’s another article if you still need convincing. This one even has Brain scans!
So, what was my problem in not wanting to take a break. Fear of being perceived as weak. Do I still feel that way? Usually not. Now, after a short break away from the tasks at hand, I no longer slow down to a painful crawl during that last hour n half. Instead, I am back on the job with a few minutes rest, something new to talk about and I’m able to end strong.
EOD Furniture Guy/Blogger/Rambo Fan