If you’ve spent any time working in tourism, you’ve heard of the value of taking time off. You’ve heard that Americans leave entirely too many vacation days on the table. You get it.
But those are vacation days. What about a regular day? Are making space during those days?
It’s easy to make space for your mind to wander during a vacation, but you can get some of those same benefits doing that during the course of an actual work day.
I know, I know. Not everybody works a flexible job and it isn’t exactly possible to not be productive doing a nine-to-five. But that’s not even what I’m talking about.
I am talking about those hours outside of your normal work day where you fill your time with endless tasks rather than doing something that will make you happy.
Stop Feeling Guilty
If you’re anything like me, you do this because of guilt. What if you don’t answer a question one minute after it’s asked? What if someone emailed me?
The simple fact is that the benefits that you can achieve from letting your brain have breaks throughout the day far outweighs any benefit you might get from instantaneous replies.
Having moments where you are not actively trying to write and actively trying to solve problems lets you passively work through these tasks. Wait… did I just say that you’re working when you’re not working? Yes, and isn’t that cool?
The passive work your brain does while you are spending time with your family or indulge in a favorite hobby is actually necessary to get a better result on the work you produce during the day. Not giving your brain that time means subpar, less effective work. That is real the result of always being on and responding to those constant questions.
So if you really can’t get over the guilt, just remember how much better your work will be with a brain break.
Stop Thinking Your Superhuman
Talk about something else I’m more than guilty of. I have days where I can write three blog posts, I don’t know how many social media posts, respond to clients and do other business activities. The next day, I’m dead. And I’ll still try to push through even though I’m likely ahead if I got that much done. Why just be a little ahead when you can be a lot ahead, right?
Turns out that’s not my reality. If I just take the time to rest my brain or engage in some other activity and then come back to work, I am so much more effective. But let’s just say that this is something I’m still learning.
Knowing that you have limits and honoring them with periods of rest can actually make you an even more productive person. It doesn’t feel that way but it’s true. Great content just doesn’t happen when you’re trudging through on a brain that hasn’t been recharged.
I know it’s hard to accept, but making the habit of taking time off every day really can have a huge impact on your productivity. So start experimenting and figuring out how taking these breaks can help you.