Take a break

Photo courtesy of Daniel Go (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Daniel Go (Creative Commons)

One of the most important things you can do when you are in the middle of a huge task, a big project, or a busy day is to take a break.

That’s also the easiest thing to forget to do.

You know the feeling. You are looking at the growing stacks of work on your desk, the task list that just goes on for pages, the phone that won’t quit ringing, and the email inbox that is chirping and flashing with each new email.

Take a break? Are you crazy? There’s no time – I’ll never get all this done!

That is precisely the moment that you MUST take a break. Actually, you should have taken one earlier, and I bet you would have prevented that panicked feeling. Even just stopping long enough to get a cup of coffee or make some hot tea can refresh your mind and body.

I am hugely guilty of just powering through. I rarely actually stop for lunch, but just eat at my desk while I work. Because of interruptions, I tend to start and stop many different tasks and then the piles on my desk become so completely overpowering that I find myself not even knowing what all I need to get accomplished. I feel like I am swimming in work by early afternoon and become so weighed down that I feel like I will never finish.

That happened yesterday in fact. I commented to someone that I felt like I was sinking under all the work I needed to finish. As I heard myself saying that, it dawned on me that I was overdue for a break!

So I took one. One of my duties is to take the store deposit to the bank every day. At first this errand was an annoyance, just something else in an endless list of things to do. But then I realized it was good for me.

It’s the one thing that makes me stop and get away from my desk. It makes me take a break. Yes, it’s still work related but it resets my brain, and lets me change my focus for 15 minutes.

So yesterday, as I felt myself sinking, I stopped. I straightened the stacks on my desk. I went to the bank.

When I came back, it was almost like someone had taken away some of the work – the stacks seemed more manageable, I was able to formulate a plan for the rest of my day. And I had a better attitude as I sat down and got back to work.

I was able to accomplish so much more by just giving myself a rest.

How much more could you get done if you took a short break?