Winners Take BreaksSep 05, 2021
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- As it turns out, skimping on breaks is a rookie mistake. High performers and people at the top of their game are militant about getting enough rest and taking breaks.
- Even when we know breaks are important, it can still be tempting to feel guilty for taking a pause. We worry we’re going to lose focus or momentum, when the opposite is actually true.
- There are a variety of ways you can take a proper, rejuvenating break. Listen this episode to get some ideas you can put into practice right away.
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“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
Have you ever said that? Have you ever just pushed and pushed and pushed and refused to give yourself a break because you didn’t want to lose your momentum? I’m 100% guilty of it. As a matter of fact, I’m guilty of it right now, which is why you’re getting this email from me today. I need to remind myself:
Winners take breaks!
This might be my greatest takeaway from WHEN: THE SCIENTIFIC SECRETS OF PERFECT TIMING by Daniel Pink. I used to think that breaks were for people who didn’t want to succeed, but really not taking breaks is a rookie mistake. Once I got that through my thick skull, I started seeing the truth of it everywhere:
Cal Newport said it over and over in his book SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU.
Brendon Burchard when on and on about the importance of getting the proper amount of sleep in his book, HIGH PERFORMANCE HABITS.
And most importantly… I tried it and it worked.
More sleep = more productive Mel
Taking breaks = my eyes don’t get so tired from looking at the screen and I have better ideas and I’m more patient and and and…
Winners take breaks!
I literally have to say it over and over to keep from feeling guilty. I spent years thinking breaks were a sign of weakness, so just knowing the truth isn’t going to undo all that programming. In order to get myself to take a break, sometimes I have to remember:
Taking a break is the most productive thing I can do right now.
I’ll be so refreshed from taking this break that I’ll be able to work more efficiently when I get back to it.
And even once I realized I needed to take breaks and I figured out how to get over the guilt factor, I still struggled with exactly HOW to take a break. Maybe you’ve got the same struggle? Here are 5 strategies you can try.
1. Sit your butt down.
Literally rest your body, close your eyes, get off the treadmill… Sit. Down.
Sit down time doesn’t have to be “lost time.” You don’t have to veg out in front of the TV (though you can if you want to), you can also call a friend, work on a knitting project, color, paint-by-number, do a jigsaw puzzle, read a book, learn an instrument… pet your dog! As long as you’re sitting down, it all counts.
2. Up the vibe of your environment.
Have you ever stayed in a crappy hotel? How did it feel? Dark? Depressing? Work on making your environment uplifting, energizing, and joyful. Buy some flowers, get some plants, light a candle, use a diffuser, declutter… you don’t have to spend money to make your environment more restful and rejuvenating.
3. Fulfill your need for positive connection.
Even if you are an introvert, you still need other people. We all do! Taking a break might mean visiting someone you love, going to a church function, volunteering at the shelter, going for a walk with a friend, writing a letter… just get some good energy going between you and someone you love.
4. Care for your body, mind, spirit.
This doesn’t have to be something religious, but it can be. Prayer, meditation, spiritual reading, listening to personal growth training, journaling… all of that can help rejuvenate your mind and spirit. And when it comes to your body… take time for exercise, sleep, and grooming. Yes, you do have time for a shower. Go take one.
5. Do something that brings you joy.
It doesn’t matter if it seems silly or other people don’t understand. The only thing that matters is that it brings you joy. Maybe it’s dancing with your dog in the kitchen, watching a beam of sunlight, weeding your garden… whatever makes you smile!
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE
Decide when, where, and how your next break is coming.
Put it in your calendar. When the assigned time comes… actually take your break. If you need to move it on the calendar, fine, but don’t delete it! You need and deserve a break.
Winners take breaks!
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