Working hard is part of the global culture. It’s been that way for decades, generations even. But with that comes a horrible side effect that may leave us unable to work as hard as we’d like to over time – not taking regular breaks during the day.
I put this article together, partly as a reminder to myself as a workaholic, but also because I’ve seen so many people get overwhelmed and burnt out simply because they feel the need to keep going and going without taking some downtime and refueling.
Taking breaks gives your mind some room to focus on complex problems on its own
When you’re working on something difficult, you tend to either want to give up or press it until you get some kind of breakthrough.
Think of your break as giving your mind a massage and allowing your subconscious to do the heavy lifting for a while. You’ll be surprised that when you do sit down again to go at it you start booming with new ideas and insights that help you to really power the work you’ve been doing.
Taking regular breaks reduces your stress levels
You put yourself under an immense amount of pressure when you engage in work everyday. You have urgent deadlines, pop up requests and all kinds of interruptions messing with your flow for the day.
With all that stuff coming at you at work it only makes sense that a certain amount of anxiety comes with it. You start to wonder if you’ll actually make that deadline, or if you can handle the hundreds of tasks that have been suddenly put on your plate. And you start to feel unproductive because you can’t seem to get anything done.
This may seem counterintuitive, but when you get to this point it may be time to take a break. Hear me out, here. Remember what I said earlier about giving your mind some space to sort through complex problems? Well, at this point you have the problem of prioritizing your next move so you can power through your to-do list like a boss. Taking a break at this point gives your mind the freedom to work for you without interruption, and it also gives you a chance to breathe – something you may have forgotten to do while thinking about all those things you need to get done.
You put too much of a strain on your mind and body
When you work for prolonged periods of time you put your mind and body under a lot of pressure.
In today’s world where more of us are working from home that can be catastrophic. Being that many jobs now require that you work behind a computer screen for most of the day, taking fewer breaks means that you’re spending more time with your eyes, hands and back fixed in a single position for a prolonged period of time.
That’s definitely not healthy. If you keep going you may start to experience some bad side effects like pain surrounding your eyes, blurry vision, back pains and pains in your wrists. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a pleasant work day to me.
Also, the more strain you put on yourself, the more fatigued you’ll become over time. That seems logical right? Now, let’s take it a step further. If you continue to put that same strain on yourself over a long period of time without regular breaks for rest you’ll continue to get more fatigued – and you’ll be able to focus on work for less amounts of time.
That leads me to my next point.
Take regular breaks in your work day to increase your productivity
If you’re always tired because you haven’t been ensuring that you take the breaks you need to recoup, then it stands to reason that you’ll be getting less work done because you’ll literally be unable to continue working the way you have been.
I can tell you from my own workaholic experiences that regular breaks in your work day are not just a nice to have. They’re necessary if you want to keep going and keep pushing as hard as you’d like to achieve the goals you want.
And if you keep pushing yourself and straining your psyche without taking breaks, your body will eventually take one for you. You may get really sick, and that’s not something I would wish on anyone.
So, please, heed my advice and take care of yourself by taking regular breaks in your work day.