Research shows you’ll perform better at work if you take a break every now and again, so make sure this bank holiday you have the day off and do something non-work related.
We know it’s often difficult to do when you work within a small business, as there’s always something needing to be done and quite often it’s only in those quiet times when everyone else isn’t working (evenings, weekends, bank holidays) that you get chance to catch up with certain activities.
A Lexis Nexis survey reported that white collar workers spend half their working day receiving and managing information, rather than doing their actual job, so it’s not surprising that we try and catch up at the times when the information is flowing more slowly.
But, this time away from our day job isn’t actually wasted time. Our brain uses this time to replenish itself. It has a chance to reboot itself to fresh levels, which encourages improvements in creativity, productivity and motivation.
A former colleague of mine used to call it ‘sharpening the saw’. If you were cutting wood you couldn’t keep cutting logs indefinitely. At some point you’d need to stop cutting, and sharpen the saw, so that your cutting was more effective. And the same principle applies to the mental aspects of our work. We need to stop thinking in order to allow our brain to sharpen itself, so that when we start thinking again we’re approaching it with a sharp brain and not one dulled by constant sawing.
We’re not suggesting the extremes of 37Signals, where CEO and Co-Founder Jason Fried has suggested that giving employees an entire month off to work on whatever they want will boost creativity and morale. We’re just saying, when you get a chance to take some time off, like this bank holiday, make sure you take it.
For more information on the need for downtime, you can see some further reading at: