It is a familiar scene. You are surrounded by work, time is moving quickly along and the pile of work does not seem to be getting any smaller. The tendency is to keep plowing through until you can see some progress. But this is not always the best approach…
Sometimes we need to step back and decide if the best thing we can do is to get up and take a break.
So how do we tell if we should take a break and make sure we are not just procrastinating?
Reasons to take a break
- If your attention is skipping all over the place and you are constantly rereading, rewriting or trying to refocus. This can be caused by a number of things, including dehydration that we talked about last week. It can also be a sense of panic at overload, which can be magnified if unfinished tasks are lying all around distracting you.
- If you have been hunched over your computer for more than an hour. Your body needs to stretch and allow the blood to flow. Long term injuries and illness can be caused by prolonged computer use. Slip in some different activities to give your muscles a chance to recover.
- If you have stopped making progress on the thing you are working on. Sometimes our brains have had enough and we need to inject a little break to give us the enthusiasm and inspiration to continue.
- If you are thinking through a problem or project and the break through is just not happening. Sometimes we need to let our thoughts incubate for a little while before they can spit out the answer. Just beware; incubation usually happens after working for a while, procrastination happens before working.
So what does a break look like for you?
It does not have to mean taking an hour off and going a mini vacation! It can simply mean moving onto another task, grabbing a glass of water and a healthy snack, tidying your desk or doing a few jumping jacks to get your blood flowing.
Whatever it takes to allow you to take a deep breath and refocus.
When you settle back down to work you will be much more productive and get more done in less time.