Take Time Off for Increased Productivity
Recently I took a vacation for a whole week. Not an elaborate, exotic or expensive vacation, but one where I consciously unplugged from phone calls, e-mails, and thoughts about work and spent time in a relaxing environment away from home. My time off was great, and I felt rested and ready to meet the challenges at work when I returned. My experience is confirmed in a recent article on productivity published by Entrepreneur.com entitled "Relax! Come Back Stronger by Taking a True Day Off." The article explains that, even though it may be counter-intuitive, taking regular time off from work is the key to long-term success and sustained creativity. Such downtime allows our brains to restore attention and motivation, and it encourages productivity and creativity.
The article explains that a true day off requires no phone calls, e-mails, correspondence, conversations or focused thinking about work. Although that may be a challenge for some of us who are in the habit of checking email every few minutes, the rewards are worth the effort.
The article suggests the following actions for taking a true day off:
Schedule in Advance – Let everyone know you will be off the grid for a full 24 hours. Some people will think you can't do it, but ignore the negative comments and stick to your plan!
Plan a Distraction – Plan several activities that will take your focus off work and leave your phone in a drawer so you aren't tempted to reach for it out of habit.
Get it Out of Your System – Make sure you address the work issues that are most pressing on your mind and have essential work conversations before you take the day off.
Reign in Your Brain – Your mind will naturally wander to work, so be on guard, and select some non-work related topics to switch to mentally when you catch yourself thinking about work. Ask your family and friends who are with you during time off to help redirect your thoughts if you bring up work.
Do Nothing – During times of idleness, our brains are actually exceedingly active. Choosing idleness at regular intervals is good for your brain just like sleep, and failure to be idle for long periods of time adds up, just like sleep deprivation.
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