Do you find it difficult to take a break when work is hectic and deadlines are tight?
The urge to keep on working when we are under pressure is a strong one and hard to resist. We often tell ourselves, “I’ll just finish X”, or “I’ll stop when Y is done” and carry on, perhaps ignoring signs of fatigue or declines in performance.
Given what we know about our body’s physiology though, this strategy is not that smart. Our bodies and brains are designed to oscillate between periods of performance and periods of recovery.
Even knowing this, it can be hard to stop, pause, recover and then continue with our tasks.
Strategies for brief recovery can include:
- Physical: Do something active or some form of relaxation.
- Mental: Switch the type of task – get away from the computer to go and discuss ideas with a colleague, for example.
- Emotional: Doing something fun or pleasurable will provide a positive emotions boost, which in turn has been shown to assist recovery.
Have a go at planning brief recovery breaks into your day. You may want to talk with colleagues or friends to get a plan to remind each other to do this.
Notice your levels of energy and performance before and after taking recovery breaks – do you notice a difference?