Taking A Break Is All About Goal Reactivation
I Want You to Stop Working
For as many days as you can manage. Better yet, disconnect from email and social media. If you can handle it, if your life will allow, feel free to spend at least 6 hours a day with your smartphone no less than 6 feet from you. Leave it on a table in another room (with the volume on). Or, in your home office. On another desk. Somewhere other than your hand, pocket, lap, ear, body.
Decrease the noise in your life.
I think I first recognized the power of tuning out to better tune back in when I was a freshman in college. I got so overwhelmed at the end of my first semester with life, school, and work that I drove back home for a weekend to disconnect. I remember it being painful, actually. (LOL) But, I also remember it being a remarkably powerful recharge.
It’s not always as simple as driving home to disconnect and recharge these days. When I’m on an extended break (and I’m about to be on a two week holiday!) I make the mistake, time and again, of setting too many expectations of myself. I WILL read all of those books! I WILL read that report! I WILL nap every day! I WILL eat my weight in cookies!
I usually only succeed at the last two. Sometimes the others.
This cute little article from the Harvard Business Review talks a bit about mental fatigue and why we should take breaks throughout the day, but I’m advocating for something larger: a full-on multi-day sloth-fest.
Disengaging isn’t just about letting your mind recharge, it’s about disconnecting long enough to let your mind sort through everything you’ve been working on and working toward. Think of it as mental defragmentation in the style of early Windows PCs. (Do PCs still have to defragment? I wouldn’t know.)
Take time to care for yourself, spend time with friends and family, eat gluttonous amounts of cookies and doing the things you love often fuels the creativity you will employ in the workplace. You’d be surprised how many aha! moments you can have when you’re not working the time away. So, whenever you get the chance, take a long break so that when you do return to your working life you can hit it hard.