TIME FOR A BREAK
Ever hear someone quip, “I know hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance on being the first victim?”
It’s good for laughs, but it’s based on false premises. Hard work has killed many people, and its typical murder weapon is a decade or two of emotional overexertion. Workaholics never stop running to keep up with little inner whispers: “Finish this… don’t forget the deadline… don’t forget the next item… get this right… you must… you have to…”
Your car wouldn’t tolerate being driven 24/7 indefinitely. Neither will your body. People who “never have time to rest” tend to eventually get their rest in the hospital—or the cemetery.
We all know as much, but our lip service to “time off” typically loses out to the idea that “the more I work now, the sooner I’ll build up a million-dollar retirement account—and then I can rest.” But once we get into the perpetual-motion habit, no amount of money in the bank ever seems enough. The time to rest is briefly but frequently—starting now.
To develop the frequent-rest habit without becoming lazy:
- Get up every hour for a five-minute break. Stretch, visit the bathroom, or look out the window.
- Go to bed seven to nine hours before you plan to get up—or take an afternoon nap.
- Practice deep breathing and other forms of physical and mental relaxation. A church or other religious center, or a yoga or meditation course, can provide guidance.
- Take one full day off every week—and use it for real rest, not for home maintenance (unless you find “handy” work genuinely relaxing).
- Take at least one full week of vacation—preferably two to eight—every year. And do leave home during vacation time, and don’t bring your laptop along.
Surprisingly, people who take frequent breaks are more productive. They rebuild depleted energy faster. They are less mentally distracted. And they dread their work less. (A frequent cause of working frantically, yet getting nowhere, is fear of starting the really important tasks.)
By all means, work hard. But don’t let it take over—and maybe destroy—your whole life.
For more information:
· How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie, Chapter 23, “How to Add One Hour a Day to Your Waking Life.”www.timeday.org
Katherine Swarts is a full-time freelance writer specializing in articles, for business newsletters and blogs as well as magazines. (Visit her Web site at www.spreadthewordcommercialwriting.com) She lives in Houston, Texas. Her favorite spare-time activities are reading, bird-watching, attending community events, and writing Christian poetry (she maintains a devotional/poetry blog at http://newsongsfromtheheart.blogspot.com)