Do You Know When it is Time to Just Stop and Take a Break?

Learn how to effectively unplug once in a while, and be more productive and happy because of it!

Learn how to effectively unplug once in a while, and be more productive and happy because of it!

Are you feeling like you have no time and not getting anything done? Do you keep having the same New Years resolutions year after year? Are you wishing you were somewhere else in your career but never seem to follow your dream? Do the days just pass by all too quickly? Well my friend, it may be time to take a break.

Many people think if they keep pushing themselves non-stop mentally/physically then it will lead to better and quicker results. In the long term, this is usually the complete opposite. The people who succeed in life know how to get things done in less time, and then go enjoy their life.

What creates results? It’s a simple 3 step process:

  1. Visualizing exactly what you want
  2. Knowing what step you need to do right now
  3. Taking action and repeating the steps

Unfortunately if you ask many we all seem to be stuck in a rut, still in the same place, not feeling like we are moving forward, or just lost clarity on what we really want in life. To get back on track, take a break, step back, relax and let the mind/body reset back to optimal working capacity.

Don’t be busy, be productive

Don't work long hours day after day, be smarter and get more done in less time.

Don't work long hours day after day, be smarter and get more done in less time.

I know people who stay busy all day long, yet over the long haul really aren’t going anywhere. It’s not about how much you can “spin your wheels”, but what you really do in life. There are enough distractions out there to derail any of us, but we can always learn to identify what activities are helping and what ones are just keeping us spinning in the mud.

Of course in order to be productive we need to know where we want to go in the first place. You can walk 100 miles in one direction with a map and compass to a set destination, or you can walk in circles. Two completely different journeys and outcomes in the same amount of time.

So focus on what you want and just don’t do “stuff” to kill time. Remember time is all you have, your greatest gift day in and out, waste it now and you will only live to regret it (or wish you had more) later.

Learn the art of saying “No”

Along with staying “busy” is having way too many obligations or commitments. It is one thing to participate in and do things you really enjoy, but it is another to get suckered into everything that pops up just because someone asks you to do it. The answer is simple, learn to say “No” to people. Stop caring what they will think if you don’t participate. It’s your life to live and only those that want to spin their wheels stay busy. From this point forward you are going in a set direction right? So now it’s important to use your time for your journey, and not just stay busy.

The only way you will get good at it is to practice. Say “No” to going out on the town if you really don’t want to, say “No” to volunteering if it’s not something you believe in, say “No” more often and pretty soon you will be the expert. Remember we are still saying “Yes”, but only to the things that we want to have happen. We are in total control now.

More is not better, smarter is

We know this to be true in most things such as in work or exercise (working out). You don’t exercise all day long and expect to have bigger muscles, you take time off. Same thing for work, you don’t want to work 12 hours just for the sake of it but you want to get stuff done.

I’ve found personally that the days I tend to work the longest, I end up really getting the least amount done. We have all done it, just stare at the computer screen for what seems like hours on end. Writing my ebook Break Free was the same way. I had to be focused and have clear mind to write effectively…otherwise I would stare and type slow resulting in not doing much.

By working longer the only thing most of us accomplish is heading down a road of burnout which will lead to less productivity day after day and eventually require a bigger break to recover from.

Get out and play

You are never too old to be like a kid again. Just go play!

You are never too old to be like a kid again. Just go play!

Something I keep telling myself when I feel like I am “mentally” unfocused or slowing down is to just “get out and play”. Nothing helps to recharge the brain/body more than getting outside and going to do something I enjoy. It doesn’t have to be planned, and can take many forms. It could be a walk around the park, going for a bike ride, playing catch with your kids, walking the dogs, or whatever activity you enjoy.

The key is to make it fun and uncomplicated. Forget the cell phone, leave the ipod at home, don’t worry about the computer/emails. Shut it all off and just go play.

3 types of breaks

Below I have listed the 3 types of breaks that you can use at your discretion. These can be applied to many aspects of your life including your work, social commitments, relationships and even your workouts.

Option#1: Take a short break

This is simple and should be used daily. Know when to just turn off the computer/phone and go play. In fact take as many “little” breaks as you want during a day. Nothing keeps you as focused as having a clear mind and knowing you are not going to take all day with something.

Also within this strategy is planning your work hours. Don’t just call work from 6am to 10pm 7 days a week. This is something I have to remind myself to do as well quite often. Set specific hours in which you will ONLY check your email or do other work activity, and then be done with it (one reason I will NEVER have email on my phone). You can spread those hours through out the day if you want, like say working from 8am to 10am and 2pm to 4pm on the computer. It’s up to you. But the goal is to not just “stay busy”, but be focused and productive. This is about getting things done, and keeping your sanity and happiness in the progress. Figure out what will work for you and then just make it happen.

Option #2: Extended time off to recharge

Taking a vacation is this easy...even if it's just in your own backyard.

Taking a vacation is this easy...even if it's just in your own backyard.

We could call this a “vacation” from something (or even someone if that is the case). Sometimes the short breaks aren’t enough and we need a longer time to recharge the batteries. You don’t even have to fly to some tropical island (although that would be nice wouldn’t it) to take a vacation. You just need to get away for a while from whatever it is. You could take a weekend off from the computer (gasp, not checking email for a whole weekend? I know). You could just go take a day to some local place, park, town and just enjoy.

The one thing that you don’t want to do is to take a “busy” vacation. You know, always running around the kind that most need another vacation to recover from. This is about taking time off to give your mind and body a break, to be able to come back with a clearer vision, to know what actions to take….not to just make you happy for a day only to come back to the same routine and never change.

Option #3: Sometimes you just need to walk away

The last action is used when something (or someone) is really not in line with your vision or how you want to live your life. It is at this point you may have to just detach and walk away. This is not supposed to be an ugly mental breakup with whatever (or whoever) it may be, but you can smile knowing that you are just needing to go your own way. Detach from it with no hard feelings, only positive ones of how you are going to live your life from now on. It could be a bad job that you are stuck in, a bad personal relationship or something in your life that is not taking you where you really want to go. It’s not about ignoring people or not helping those that need help, it’s about finding what does and does not work in your life. Live a life of purpose, not of being held back by things you are attached to.

So in the hustle and bustle of today’s fast paced society remember that sometimes less is really more, especially when you are focused and then have time to enjoy your daily life.

Life isn’t that complicated, it’s only what YOU make it to be. The only one with the power to make changes is you, so what are you going to do today?

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