Working too hard can lead to failure
Imagine you’re working on something important to you, say a novel. You’ve been at it for hours when you suddenly have a creative epiphany: “Hey, what if the cop investigating the robbery planned the whole thing?!”
At this point, no matter how exhausted you already are, you’d probably feel the urge to keep writing.
But in fact, this may be a mistake. Quit while you’re ahead.Ernest Hemingway’s advice to would-be writers was to “always stop when you know what’s going to happen next.” Click To Tweet Taking a break allows the idea to incubate in your subconscious, helping you when you get back to work later. Click To Tweet
Research by the University of Sydney’s Center for the Mind illustrates the benefits of pausing work. In an experiment, they asked two groups of students to come up with as many creative uses for a piece of paper as possible. One group worked on the task without interruption, while the other had a break in the middle before returning to the job again.
The result? The second group came up with far more solutions than the first.
So, give your ideas time to mature by taking a break, and you might be amazed at how they’ve transformed and multiplied when you pick up work again.
When the mere thought of another day at work fills you with dread, it’s not a good sign. Indeed, you may be close to a burnout.
One solution is to take a break: a few weeks or more off work. But before you pack up and head to the nearest beach, bear this in mind.
Plan your pause to get a more meaningful result
The purpose of a pause is to accomplish something meaningful. For this, you have to understand your yearnings – your deepest desires in life. To do that, use the “so that” test. Start by thinking of something you want. Then ask yourself why you want it by adding “so that” to your answer.
For example, let’s say Dave wants more money. “Why?” he asks himself. “So that I can buy a boat.” Continuing in this way, he may come to realize that he really wants money because he yearns for a sense of freedom.
Now you can brainstorm ideas about what your pause might look like. These could be places or activities like “beach” or “hiking”. Next, think about your intentions for the pause. These can be fairly general, like “Learn to live in the moment more.”
Finally, using your yearnings, ideas, and intentions, draft a plan for your pause. This shouldn’t be a to-do list of chores, but rather a rough guide for making the most out of your break.