It's Time To Take A Break
Its Time To Take A Break
By Mark Wager
There no getting away from just how important work is in our lives. Not only does our work pay our bills and allows us to survive but it defines who we are in society. Whenever you met someone new one of the first questions they ask you is "what do you do?" It's not a surprise with work playing such a big part of our lives that many tend to fall into the trap of allowing work to consume us. With this consumption comes stress and with stress comes unhappiness and sickness. In order to succeed we must work hard and be willing to make sacrifices. We all know this but how do we balance this work ethic with the need to have a balanced life? How do we stop living to work and start working to live.
I was in my early twenties and I was working in a Finance House in London. The hours were long but the rewards were high as a Broker Sales Manager. I received a percentage of whatever profit my department made. This meant that I and other Mangers like me worked as many hours as we could in order to close as many deals as we could. One night a couple of us finished late in the office around 9:00 pm and a fellow Manager Andy offered to give me a lift home. Andy was like me in his early twenties. Whatever we lacked in education we made up for in hunger and hard work. On the way home we stopped at the traffic lights and then suddenly Andy just started crying. He sobbed and sobbed with his head down on the wheel. In the coming weeks we learnt that Andy had a breakdown. We never saw him in the office again, he was only twenty five. That wasn't the scariest thing. The scariest thing was that the next day the office carried on. Yes he was missed but work carried on and he was soon replaced. It was then that I realised that I'm just not as important as I made myself to believe I was. I like everyone else can be replaced and the world carries on without us.
No one ever built a statue for someone who worked in an office
Ever since that time I've always told myself how important it is to find time to take a break. Even if it's just ten or fifteen minutes during a busy day. Time to take a step away and think about anything but work. If you are reading this and thinking you are too busy to take a break, there's just too much work and not enough hours in the day, I'm here to tell you that you are wrong. Not only is taking a break obviously good for your health but you may not realise that taking a break is also good for your productivity as well.
When workload increases the common reaction from most people is to increase the number of hours worked in order to meet the increased workload. I understand, I used to do this myself but this is only a short term fix like a bandage. If work continues to increase, then the answer is not to work longer hours but to make your current hours more efficient and that may mean contrary to your instinct, working less hours. Think about a time when you were at your most effective level. a time that ideas just come to you. Everything that came out of your mouth was gold and every decision was a winner. We can all think of these times when we were in what we call "the zone." As we work longer hours, the chance of entering this zone becomes less and we become more tired and less focused and what eventually happens is that we work longer hours but we become less effective with each additional hour we do. In order to reach this zone more often, breaks are essential. Take a break and focus on anything that is not work. This will refresh your mind and will allow you to be more effective on your return.
Work is and will always be important but it's not who you are. You are someone and something greater than your job. Learn the same lesson that I learnt from Andy many years ago in a London finance house and give yourself permission to take a break.
About the Author:
Mark Wager is a Leadership Coach who specialises in developing strategies and practical tools in order to turn Managers into inspirational leaders. Mark provides a free 20 minute strategy session for anyone in New Zealand, Australia or the pacific Islands. The purpose of this session is to clarify your goals and identify what you need to do in order to achieve those goals. Mark can be contacted via the enquiry form below.
Image courtesy of Jomphong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Posted: Monday 2 November 2015