Running a business involves a lot of work. Running a business should also involve a lot of breaks.
I know when you are in the heat of the action, it never feels like you have time to take a break. I mean, why should you allow yourself down time when your to-do list still has a dozen things on it? Because taking that time will could actually get you through that list faster than if you force yourself to remain hunkered down.
Those rest points can be difficult because they feel selfish. If you take it as just a thought exercise, however, I would wager that most people believe taking a break when feeling overwhelmed or frustrated can provide a needed reset and help you perform better when you return to the task. Also, I think most agree that they work better after a good night’s sleep.
Allowing yourself to get one can be difficult, though, when that to-do list is not finished.
I am not going to pretend to have any experimental data to prove this point, but I truly believe that those rest periods make you more productive and save time in the end. I mean, I’m sure I’m not the only person who has found myself frustrated while fixing my own mistakes on a task I tried to accomplish when a bit worn down.
And now it turns out that small breaks, even ones that can be measured in seconds, help your mind process what you’re doing and learn better. I came across this in an Inc.com article written by suspiciously appropriately named business writer Peter Economy.
This article discusses a study that has found that taking a 10-second break allowed participants to enter a short number sequence they just learned faster than those who did not take a break. It seems the brain really does work better if you give it a chance to take in what you’re doing.
So when you are in nose-to-the-grindstone mode, you may feel like you’re getting a lot done, but you may not really be processing what you’re doing. Sure, this can be fine for some mindless tasks, but for the most part, the more you remember about what you did the better.
Recently I have written about the wisdom of delegating tasks and prioritizing getting help from others when you feel like you are doing too much. That is one way to give yourself a break, but now we also see that is important to give yourself personal breaks within the work you are taking on yourself.
All told, let’s consider this in the mode of self-forgiveness. There is a level of hard work and perseverance that is critical to success. There is also a level of rest and relaxation, however, which is necessary to prevent burnout. This can be small – I mean who doesn’t have 10 seconds? – but just keeping it in mind that not only do you deserve some rest periods, but that they are beneficial, is key to long-term success.
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