Taking Breaks from Managing

You can push, push, push until you drop or you can pace yourself for the long distance run. Managing is consistently demanding. There is always something to do. When I started taking periodic breaks during my day, it felt unnatural. I’d be on a roll and stopping felt abrupt and disconcerting. After taking breaks for a while, I realized that, in the past, the longer I went, the more my capacities diminished. I was soon running on empty – tired, mentally fatigued and not at my best.

For some, the natural inclination is to keep going. You think as long as you can keep going the work will get done. You do not recognize your diminishing capacities. When you finally stop, time is needed to recuperate or to fix problems that may not have occurred if you were at your best.

If this intrigues you, try an experiment. On one busy day, push till you cannot go any longer. On a second busy day, take three ten minute breaks in addition to a lunch break (short is okay). Notice the level of your productivity, quality of your work and your physical and emotional state on each day and compare them. When I did this experiment, taking breaks brought me to my better day.


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