Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment, and to either of these ends, there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing. — Thomas A. Edison
Read that quote again, read it as many times as you need to…. till it sinks in..
A lot of us are programmed to work, keep ourselves busy, push ourselves beyond our limits, gulp down as many cups of tea or coffee needed to plough through the never-ending pile of work on our plate. In fact, only if we do all this and more, do we feel a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. Else, our brain is kicking us saying you haven’t done enough, you haven’t completed this/that task, so you need to get up earlier than usual tomorrow and attack them before you get started on what’s lined up for the day.
Ugh! Don’t you hate it when your brain makes you feel guilty?
There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” ― Alan Cohen
You take a short coffee break, or lunch break and your brain is constantly telling you “hurry up, finish the food faster, time to get back, that document won’t complete itself you know..”
In my mind, I will know that the deadline is 5 p.m. I know that I have enough time to complete the document but my brain kicks in and is making me feel guilty for taking the time 20-minute break and so I will actually wind up my meal or coffee and rushed to sit on the laptop only to stare at it till maybe 3 p.m. and then actually work on it which is what I had originally planned.
There have also been a few occasions when I felt overwhelmed or I have a lot on my plate – some of it being completely new and a challenge and the one thing that was for me is to get away from work and take a break.
I’m not sure if it is again ‘conditioning’ or just the way some of us are wired – if you haven’t been productive, it’s almost like we are a failure, a loser, and incompetent.. many times it ends up as a battle with our own Minds compromising on sleep and health as well, just so we could feel productive at the end of the day.
In the earlier posts on the importance of taking a break, I had shared techniques that people can follow that will help them be productive, and stay healthy. All said and done, the one thing that we all need to accept is our minds are evil, it can push us to the extent where we break… So, what next? what happens then?
The only solution to all this to step away from work and take a break every now and then..More than just our body taking a beating a mind as to we create two lists and calendars at the start of the day and this gets imbibed into a brain.
Our mental concentration gets affected over a period of time – leads to fatigue and needs a rest period, before it can recover. If you notice yourself daydreaming or drifting away from work while sitting in front of your laptop It means it’s time for you to take a break and shut your work down. There is no harm, no foul and you don’t need to feel guilty about it.
While most companies/ employers don’t understand the concept of mental health or someone needing a break, it is fine to take a day off if you need to cook up an excuse, go for it..
The last year has been quite difficult and a struggle for many – while some are battling with the uncertainty, others have insecurity about their jobs, some are dealing with endless hours in front of the computer [including zoom /Google meet/ Skype calls – most of which are video-based and you need to focus/ pretend to stay alert.]
Infact, with a client of mine, it got a little too much, and I finally decided to call it quits. A senior person reached out asking for feedback – one of the things I listed down was the crazy number of meetings online meetings that could have just been an email or a message. I don’t understand why people need to set aside one hour to discuss the thing that was already discussed via email. This kind of work culture is what kills what little motivation people have.
For every hour that you are focused on work take 10 minutes to get away from work [it could be housework, it could be online, it could just anything]. Go for a walk, talk to somebody, else just go stand in the Balcony/ near the window and just let your mind go + take a few deep breaths. Or if listening to music or playing with your pet is what gets your juices flowing, do that.. do not hesitate.. over time your mind will calm down & let you enjoy those few minutes away from ‘work’.You will feel your shoulders relax, your body relaxes and your face will too. It is magical, so do it, do it as often as needed… Let me know what works for you!!
Thank you for reading…
Interesting reads during your break on how to take a break/boost productivity: