The Surprising Benefits of Taking Breaks (and Vacations)

Our brains are tired.

Every day, we are inundated with five times more information than we were in 1986. We are constantly plugged in – to email, the news, and social media. We work more and sleep less.

Our brains need a break in the form of self-care.

This is not woo-woo.

Every day, I see how my clients benefit from self-care. They are not just healthier and happier. They are more productive and do their jobs better.

I have a client who takes three breaks each day. She’s a senior VP at a large company, and when her alarm goes off, she stops what she’s doing. She turns off her monitor, puts her phone on silent and takes 5-10 minutes to think about the big picture – her number one focus for the day, long-term goals, and her team.

Taking breaks has increased her productivity, allowed her to focus on her biggest priorities (instead of getting stuck in the weeds) and created stronger connections with the key people on her team.

If short breaks are so beneficial, are longer breaks like three-day weekends and two-week vacations even better?

Maybe!

 

An interesting study found that spending less time at your desk forces you to waste less time, ie, be more productive and efficient. Makes sense – and it’s something I’ve found to be true for myself.

During the spring and summer, I took nearly every Friday off. My hours of play increased dramatically even as the number of clients I worked with increased. I worked less, but I worked more efficiently. As the study points out, it’s not about the number of hours, it’s about how we use our time.

My challenge to you is easier than moving to a four-day workweek. Try taking a break once or twice a day, and let me know how it works for you. Are you more focused? More productive? Feel more in control?

Email me, and let me know.