If you’d like to learn how to boost your productivity so you can get further ahead in all aspects of life, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
We all know the enormous amount of energy, willpower, and discipline it takes to carry a big project to completion. For some, the completion of a big project means long periods of relaxation which may lead to complacency. Certainly, they’re entitled. Yet, for others, they may just want to dive right into their project without relaxing, which may cause burnout and anxiety.
Here I discuss the importance of “strategic breaks” which means breaks that are neither too short nor too long. They are short enough to avoid you having too much to do once you start and long enough to allow you to fully disconnect and re-charge.
Quality, not quantity
You may wonder how long you should relax. To my knowledge, there is no widely accepted number of days to rest, but I suspect that a period of 3 to 6 days should be more than enough to get you recharged. For example, Marissa Mayer told Fortune, “I pace myself by taking a week-long vacation every four months.”
Note that the quality of your breaks should be more important than the quantity. Don’t take any mental baggage with you, enjoy the scarce time you have to the utmost. There are various scientifically-proven benefits of taking breaks, here I will put the emphasis on the four most important upsides of momentarily disconnecting from work.
1. Increase in productivity
Strategic breaks help prevent “decision fatigue.” The prefrontal cortex is actively involved when doing goal-oriented work such as decision-making, logical thinking, and executive functioning.
Sustained attention to a project will put tremendous strain on the prefrontal cortex. Therefore, disengaging for some time will leave you refreshed and thereby increasing your productivity. Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and an author, and she argues she is able to juggle between Facebook and writing because she enjoys all her vacation days.
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” – Dale Carnegie
2. Improved mental well-being
Stress has long been one of the most common problems in the workplace with detrimental effects on employees, managers, and organizations at large. Constant concentration could lead to a higher risk of heart disease, anxiety, depression, and obesity. One week away after the completion of an important project could help reset your mood by the release of dopamine, thereby promoting wellbeing and reducing stress and anxiety.
For example, Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO argues that time off hiking could lead to clearer thinking. Time in nature, meditation, or any self-care activity could go a great length to improve your mental well-being.
Do you remember times when you were struggling with a task? You moved away from your desk, then suddenly the solution to your problem came to you as if by magic? This phenomenon can be likened to the completion and transitioning to a new project.
It’s hard for a project manager and employee to develop new ideas or solutions when they are jumping from project to project without strategic breaks. Have you ever asked why companies such as Evernote, Netflix, and LinkedIn, are offering employees either flexible or discretionary paid time off? I’m willing to speculate it’s because they are aware that time away from work will most definitely help get those creative juices flowing.
“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
At the other end of the spectrum are those who instead of relaxing, dive right into their next project after having completed one. This tendency is called procrastination. We procrastinate when we rush too quickly into tasks.
David Rosenbaum, a professor of psychology at the University of California, in her research warns that procrastination could be harmful to productivity. Rushing too quickly into tasks will result in problems that could have easily been prevented with minimal planning. Remember to step back and devote a little time planning and save yourself hours in execution.
The Bottom Line
Congratulations on having completed your big project. Now it’s time to give yourself the break that you deserve. Once you have “recharged,” do take some time planning your next one. If you do so, you can transition from your last project to the next one with the right mindset and the necessary physical strength that will allow you to succeed.
How often do you take breaks during your work day? Do you feel like they’re necessary? Share your thoughts on the subject below!
20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator
Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.
Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.
1. Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.
2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.
3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.
4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.
5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.
6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.
7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.
8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.
9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.
10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.
11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.
12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.
13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.
14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.
15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.
16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.
17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.
18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.
19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.
20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.
I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at AweBliss.com so you can master your life with more success.
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