Taking Breaks From Work … Here’s Why
“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.” –Russell Eric Dobda
You’re a hard-charger, who’s success-oriented and achievement-driven. It takes discipline not to work. You might have a tendency to emphasize quantity (sometimes at the expense of quality, whether you know it or not), and it seems like from the time you wake up until the time you hit the sheets, you’re “in the saddle”. At some point or another, you might have embraced the mindset that you can sleep when you’re dead.
Twelve- to fifteen-hour work days may be the norm, and even when you’re not at work, there’s a good chance you might still be working. Weekends are the perfect opportunity… not to unplug and unwind but to get ahead… since everyone else is finally leaving you alone.
If any of that sounds familiar, we totally get it; we’ve been there with you. If it’s virtually a daily struggle to ignore that little devil on your shoulder telling you that you need to be doing more, more, more… we know where you’re coming from.
But taking breaks — both routine, shorter breaks within days and occasional, more meaningful breaks over time — can be very beneficial for you and your work. For now, let’s talk about those “micro” within-day breaks, which would be things like lunch-time breaks and mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks, which have been shown to be positively associated with well-being and productivity.
Yes, you read that correctly, taking breaks during your workday can boost performance and productivity. That runs contrary to what many people erroneously think… that stepping away will slow you down…
When you are working on a complex project or when you feel like you have too much to do, it’s easy to convince yourself that you do not have the time to take a break. Believe me, I know the feeling, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Studies have shown that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day.
One study, for example, found that lunchtime breaks, and detaching from work, increase energy levels at work and decrease feelings of exhaustion. And after a year, this strategy proved to increase vigor and energy levels over time.
Taking breaks can also prevent “decision fatigue”, which goes in hand with “ego depletion”, the idea that people have limited mental resources that get depleted with use. In short, when you need to make frequent decisions throughout your day, it can wear down your willpower and reasoning ability. Decision fatigue can lead to simplistic decision-making and procrastination.
Micro-breaks also increase productivity and creativity. Working for long stretches can lead to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks, on the other hand, can help refresh the mind, replenish mental resources and help you become more creative.
Studies have shown that “aha moments” are more likely to come to those who take breaks, and the “eureka effect” — the common human experience of suddenly understanding a previously incomprehensible problem or concept — may be more likely to strike when you’ve stepped away from your work.
Here are some tips to prompt you to regularly step away from your work, replenish your energy, ignite your creativity and boost your productivity:
- Schedule break times.
- Set an alarm on your phone to prompt you.
- Plan to do something in your break that you enjoy. Combine it with some of the concepts discussed above, such as exercise snacks, taking a walk or spending time in nature.
- Pay attention to any benefits you experience when you take a break; this will provide positive reinforcement to take future breaks.
If you’re reluctant to take a break, start small, scheduling just a couple 5- or 10-minute work-free breaks into your day. As Tina Hallis, author of Sharpen Your Positive Edge: Shifting Your Thoughts for More Positivity and Success, says, “Research shows that we need to take a break and decompress so we can be our best at work — and at home. Maybe we should ask if the life we’re working so hard to create is fun to live?”
Change That Up!
September 11, 2020
Most people probably remember where they were when the towers went down in New York City. For me, I was putting on my shoes in the living room while watching CNBC on TV. I saw the recording of the hijacked plane hit the first tower and the scramble by the hosts to figure out what was going on. I called my wife into the room and we both saw the second tower get hit. What a surreal moment! It’s hard to imagine such devastation and loss of human life would happen in our time, but it did. As we remember and reflect on this historic day, let us remember those that we lost but also find those around us that may need a helping hand of service.
Now here’s the rest of the news:
Few things symbolize the dawn of the middle class better than shopping malls. They’re big, clean, full of variety, and everything’s usually on sale. Take the American Dream mega-mall, for instance. It partially opened for the first time last year in New Jersey. Once it’s complete, it will feature more than 450 stores, covering roughly 3 million square feet of retail space. It even has an indoor ski slope. But what if I told you that the last large mall like this one to open in the U.S. was New York’s Palisades Center… back in 1998? That was more than two decades ago. And I’d guess that you probably can’t recall the last time a new mall opened up near where you live.
In Asia, it’s the complete opposite.
Shopping malls have been popping up just about everywhere in this region. Many of them make the American Dream mall look tiny in comparison. And this trend is something you can’t afford to ignore. Let me explain…
This is showing us where the middle class is growing fastest. And I think it paints a clearer picture than any number out there. That’s because shopping mall operators only build when and where they see a good market. That means enough people who want things like home appliances, furniture, casual dining, movie theatres, and personal care services. The businesses that set up shop inside malls do their homework, too…
Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Asia’s entire retail industry hard, with shopping malls among the worst affected. But this is only temporary.
Today, there are roughly 116,000 malls in the U.S. Asia is seeing an increase in the middle class … another area, the U.S., not so much!!!
September 11, 2019
A day to be remembered, for sure…
Mike and Jasmine drove out from Vancouver to share their plans for the next five years. The smiles were not because they were visiting with us, specifically, but because they just finished a hike! Best of luck on this AND all future adventures…
Continuing with my notes on “Winning Friends, Influencing People and Getting The Yes” … being liked by people is often more important than having authority or talent. There are some individuals who don’t have much skill or intelligence, but they are successful because people love them and would do anything for them. P.S. (Mike & Jasmine are two highly qualified engineers.)
To recap and remind us all, here are the eleven ways to make people like you very much:
- Make as Many Friends as You Can.
- Give Sincere Compliments.
- Focus On Them and Their Interests.
- Smile Genuinely.
- Say These Three Magic Words More Often. [First name, please & thank you!]
- Offer Value.
- Share Your Secrets.
- Make Him/Her Laugh.
- Find Similarities.
- Mirror Him/Her.
- Conform to His/Her Primary Sense or Senses.
“The idea is the first currency of the Universe, so pay attention to the ideas that are in harmony with your vision.” —Mary Morrissey
Here’s to a great future! 😉
September 11, 2018
Top 5 Choices You Will Regret… do not do these
Life is short. Youth is finite. You have every opportunity to make the most of the life you have right now. Your choices today will determine the number of regrets you will have in the next ten years.
The most common regrets you have probably read about are: missed opportunities, not spending time more prudently, accom-plishing more, not doing meaningful work, procrastinating, not forming better habits, not mastering another language or skill, getting into bad relationships, or making mistakes in a past relationship.
Regrets suck. But today, right now, you can do something about your choices to limit your regrets in future.
If you had a month to live: how would you spend it?
You could spend quality time with the people you love most, really paying attention to every word they said. You could go out and have some amazing experiences, explore the world. Or you could spend it learning as much as you can, in books and by studying life itself.
You could create something. Make a dent. You could leave a legacy by creating art, making people’s lives better, or solving a global problem in your own small way.
Any of those choices, or a combination of them, would be a worthy way to spend that month.
Each moment is limited, fleeting, precious. With the same mindset about time, live your life to the fullest, right now! It’s a choice you alone can make to avoid these 5 regrets in the future.
1. Waiting for the Perfect Time. There is never a perfect time for you to take action. I’m too tired. I don’t have the time. I am not capable. Someone else will do it. It’s too late now. Now is not the right time. I am not talented. I am not ready. I’m too scared. Nobody will help me. What if I fail. I don’t feel motivated. I’d rather do nothing. I don’t have the money…yet! People make excuses because of the fear of the unknown. Others are just afraid of change, rejection and embarrassment. Fear locks you in your comfort zone. And nothing magical or remarkable happens in your safe zone.
2. Waiting to be Picked. Today, there are more ways than ever to pick yourself and show your work. Far easier to have someone notice your creative work. You are the only one who can push yourself a little further to start, create, share or publish. Stop waiting to be picked! Choose yourself!
3. Living Someone Else’s Dream. The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are; the second greatest is being happy with what you find and making the most of it. The decision to stay true to your own goals and dreams is a life-changer. Make time to pursue your passion project, no matter how busy you are. You don’t have to wait to be chosen. You can choose yourself. You don’t need permission to get your ideas to the right audience.
4. Failing… to Try. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky could not have said that any better. You can only make progress if you take a step. Overcoming the fear of failing is the first step towards success. Start confronting your fears today. And take even the most basic step towards what you have to do. Slow progress is better than no action at all. You can only change if you make an attempt to actually do something. Whatever you do, don’t fail to try.
5. Giving up too Soon. If you have ever failed in the past but never gave up, you are stronger than you think. If you have failed recently and are considering giving up, don’t. The obstacle is definitely the way. There will always be a way out. You just haven’t found it yet. Keep on trying. You are not your failure. As long as you are still actively trying, you have not failed yet.
The question is, are you going to change anything today, or tomorrow, to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life?
September 11, 2017
It might appear strange — on the one day in which as a group we took more than two-hundred photographs a movie clips — to start with a picture of our hotel room at the Rodd: Moncton, New Brunswick. The reason is quite simple! We had one event planned for the day, rain or shine, and that was to take in Hopewell Rocks: both at low-tide and again at high-tide. (period) Waking up in the Rodd was great … there was no rush … we had lots of time to collect an extra layer of clothing for today’s adventure … and we were enjoying a relaxing continental breakfast downstairs. The drive to “see the rocks” was about an hour away.
Sitting at our breakfast table together — we remembered this day — and what we were each doing and where we each were, when the planes struck the World Trade Towers in New York, NY sixteen years ago today! We took a moment together to reflect on “just how truly blessed we have been.” September 11, 2017 and we’re today going to visit the Hopewell Rock National Site.
Here we are together halfway around the world on vacation — no one had gotten ill or injured, everyone planned and contributed to each day’s events, each had taken a turn at navigating, and everyone was active in the day-to-day decisions required! [Today’s weather forecast was for increasing rainy periods … with light to moderate winds.]
We talked about today’s Hopewell Rock National Site adventure FULLY aware that the weather could turn against us at anytime! [Cat out-of-the-bag — this day would turn out to be one of our best, not too hot, not too cold. Very complete!] I tend to say that at lot … truth was … each day build on the last. This vacation proved itself over and over-again to be great!
Your entrance fee for the Hopewell Rocks is valid for two consecutive days. We got an early enough start to descend the stairs to walk on the ocean floor; returning up the many steps to the higher ground — breaking for lunch; then hours later, descend the same set-of-stairs yet again — this time putting our feet into the ocean as the tide came in. We were able to learn all this upon arrival at the information centre, noting the proximity of the toilets, restaurant and souvenir shop. We were on a mission — a very important pee-pee break — to be honest! There are no toilets once you are down-those-steps!
We will be gathering back here in about 3 hours for lunch. Caryl and I will chose to have a lobster sandwich! It will be simply delicious. We would not have had that choice back home. In Calgary it would have been most likely beef-on-a-bun…
We listened-in as our guide touched on some of the precautions and items of particular interest to most quests. (snap below taken when the tide was out!)
The time span between low and high tide is about 6 hours and 13 minutes. This presents a unique opportunity to walk on the ocean’s floor from 3 hours before low tide until 3 hours after, so it’s important to check the tide tables. Although the picture below was not taken at (its maximum) high tide, the ocean has once again returned and the tide is rising. The water is about 50% from its peak!
On average, the ocean floor at our site is completely accessible from one end to the other (2kms./1.25 miles) 2.5 hours before and after low tide, 90% accessible 3 hours on either side of low tide and 80% accessible 3.5 hours on either side of low tide. There are varying degrees of accessibility up until 4 hours on either side of low tide. These time periods can fluctuate somewhat depending on certain variables.
When we left Moncton this morning it was raining lightly, however, when we returned to Moncton later in the evening … there was no reason to carry an umbrella or wear a hat when we walked down Main Street towards Gusto’s Italian Grill for supper.
We enjoyed superb “Italian” meals, myself enjoying spaghetti and meatballs: and for dessert we each choose a huge slice of cheesecake, each making the difficult decision of which to pick. Congrats everyone … nothing was left on your plates!