The Discipline of Time Off
As a productive person it’s often difficult to take a break. There’s always something else to do, a side hustle to run, a career ladder to climb. An action-oriented mindset can be beneficial but also leads to a low-grade anxiety thinking about what else needs to be done.
One of the early episodes of Connect the Dots was about how I wanted to combat this “always on” mentality with 8 week work cycles. The idea is to work on a few projects for 6 weeks then take 2 weeks for buffer, vacation, and planning the next work cycle.
The mental reset is important, we need to come in to new projects with a clean slate, even if it’s just stacking one part of a larger project on top of the previous cycle. There’s undeniable proof that breaks boost productivity and creativity. What we need to realize is the issue isn’t with the work itself but our ability to trust our process and planning.
When the mind is under long-term stress (even the get-things-done kind) it will suffer. Short breaks during the day help, as do entire days or weekends. But what many of us are missing is a kind of “working break” that gives us time and space to creatively wander, clean up, and plan for the next round.
The end of May is a natural time to take a mental break. Schools are ending, there’s a long weekend ahead (in the US), and summer is starting. In whatever way you are able, slow down the pace, mentally reset, and plan what you want the next several weeks to look like.
Your health, creativity, and even productivity will thank you - have a great week!