Need some time off?

About the need to take breaks

Back on the health track again after last week’s blog about my Heart project Better Globe. We are already a week into October and summer feels far away. A lot of business leaders are telling me they are so tired and they would need more vacation. When I ask what they do during their workweek I understand why they are tired. No breaks, working overtime, always multi-tasking and taking work home in the weekends. They must believe they are “Superman/woman”. If you find yourself working that much it is time to do some changes if you want to last!

If you work and work without breaks your thinking capacity will get slower and slower. That means you will be time-ineffective. That means in clear terms that you are wasting your time.

If you take a break every now and then you might feel that you are wasting your time but you are certainly not. Our brain need the rest now and then to restore to think clearly again. When we go back to our important work after some rest we will be so much more efficient that the break will be a gain instead of a loss on working results.

In Sweden we have coffee breaks at most workplaces in the morning and in the afternoon. It has been known for a long time that it is important to take breaks to perform better. Sitting down having coffee has been like a mantra. But times they are changing.

I recently read an article showing that we most certainly need the pauses BUT sitting down drinking coffee might be contra productive. It might make you more tired and less interested to go back to your important work.

Instead you could go for a short walk OR you could do OTHER things in your business like tidying up on your desk, copying documents, sorting out whatever and other things that don’t require too much brainwork. And a cup of coffee is ok too, just not the sitting down.

When you do this your brain get a short rest and is much keener on doing the thinking again when you get back to your important work.

This was one tip how to last longer and get more done. If you are working all day round it might take more changes to make a perfect working situation but this can be a good start. Another tip for the stressed business leader is to schedule (yes, in your agenda) 15 minutes each day for contemplation and taking 3 deep breaths.

How do you tackle your situation when you find yourself working too much and everything gets inefficient? Do you have a smart time management tip?

If you find this information useful I would be happy if you share it in your network. Maybe you even know someone who really needs this – feel free to give them the link to this blogpost.

If you need professional help maybe Dr Annika´s mentoring program for business leaders “Strategies to cope as business leader” will suit you. The groups are small with maximum six participants to keep it confidential; the program can also be done individually. You can also get the program as teleseminar in groups or individual via Skype. Read more (Swedish) or contact for more information.

Keep smiling!

3 thoughts on “Need some time off?

  1. Just what I needed to hear. I often feel guilty when I take breaks lately, although coming from France I should not. We take a long break for lunch and do take few minutes for a coffee in the morning or afternoon. I am more productive when I do take breaks. I work from home, so yesterday I allow myself to take half an hour of fresh air, tok my dog for a walk. I felt so much better and more relaxed to go back to work and be productive. Thank you Dr. Annika.

  2. DITTO! I needed to have someone give me permission! I have a hard time telling myself to take a break! I get a certain momentum. I know my brain is beginning to freeze but NOW I can go back to what you said and know ‘someone’ gave me permission!

    Thank you Dr. Annika!

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