It’s happened to almost all of us: We try to power through to finish a project or get one more thing done — even though we can barely think straight.
Rather than keep going with something, you might be better off taking a break. Whether you decide to take a break of several days and go on vacation from your work, or whether you actually take a full hour for lunch, you can benefit from stepping back.
1. Boost Your Efficiency
Have you noticed that after two or three hours working on a task that you are no longer as efficient at it? When you start feeling bogged down, it’s easier for your mind to wander. As the day progresses, you tend to work slower. Research indicates that many workers are only efficient for about three hours per day.
When you feel like you’re dragging, it’s a good time to take a break. Even 15 to 20 minutes can help you refresh yourself and come back to your task with renewed efficiency.
2. Refocus on the Essentials
If you have the option of taking a vacation from work, you can boost your ability to refocus on the essentials. One of the best ways to get fired up about your business is to take a small break from the day-to-day operations and experience something else. When you take a break from work, you have space to look at your business in a new way, and perhaps find ways to boost your overall productivity. Once you have your priorities straight, you’ll be able to return to work with better focus and an idea of what you need to do next.
3. Increase Creativity
A break can help you reset your mental state to a point where you increase your creativity. While one of the cures for writer’s block is to start writing, another cure is to take a break and do something else for a time. Whether you meditate, go for a walk or play with your kids, taking a break can help you get out of the creative rut you’ve been in. Breaking routine is a good way to help improve creativity, so if you find yourself unable to solve a problem or move forward, take a break. There’s a good chance that you’ll be ready for inspiration with a relaxed mind.
4. Reduce Stress
It’s a vicious cycle. You’re stuck and you’re stressed because you want to finish something, but the stress blocks your thoughts and creativity. So you become more stressed and frustrated — and more impotent. Take a break to reduce your stress and anxiety. You’ll not only return to your work refreshed and perhaps with a mind ready for insight, but you’ll also reduce some of the physical health impacts that stress can have.
5. Improve Your Relationships
One way you can invest in yourself is to make sure that you have healthy relationships. What happens when you are always working on something? You miss out on quality time with your life partner, kids, friends and relatives. These are relationships that can be good for your mind and your body. But working all the time can mean that you miss out. On top of that, you might be irritable as you stress out over the work you are doing. That further strains your relationships and pushes people away. Take a break from work, and bring balance to other areas of your life. When you feel good about other parts of your life, you will be more open to inspiration, and better able to focus on work when it’s appropriate.
Sometimes, the answer is knowing when to stop. Make it a point to take a break when you run into a wall, or when you realize that there are other important things happening in your life. While it seems counterintuitive that stopping work would help your efforts, the reality is a break can be very beneficial.