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Breaking the Mold: Creating Space for Rest in your Workday

Listeners will discover the importance of breaks for productivity and well-being. They'll learn practical tips for incorporating breaks into their workday, embracing the Pomodoro Technique, and using technology to support relaxation without guilt.

00:00 / 05:49

Helpful Reading

Helpful Reading

Francesco Cirillo | The Pomodoro Technique: The Acclaimed Time-Management System | Cirillo's book introduces the Pomodoro Technique, a strategy mentioned in the podcast for managing work and taking regular breaks.

Daniel Pink | When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing | Pink's book discusses the science behind timing and how it affects productivity and rest, supporting the podcast's discussion about the importance of breaks.

Cal Newport | Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World | Newport's book discusses how to use technology effectively and avoid its distractions, complementing the podcast's tip on using technology for rest.

Greg McKeown | Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most | McKeown's book provides strategies for making work easier and more enjoyable, supporting the podcast's goal of making workdays more enjoyable with rest.

Nir Eyal | Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life | Eyal's book offers strategies for managing distractions and staying focused, which can be helpful in making the most of work breaks as discussed in the podcast.

Pico Iyer | The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere | Iyer's book explores the importance of stillness and rest in our fast-paced world, which complements the podcast's topic of incorporating rest into the workday.

Laura Vanderkam | Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done | Vanderkam's book provides practical strategies for feeling less busy and getting more done, aligning with the podcast's tips for breaking up large tasks and taking breaks.

Helpful Reading


Hello, hello! Welcome back to another episode with your friendly neighborhood OD consultant. Today, we're talking about something something we've all felt guilty about at some point: taking breaks. Why is it that stepping away from our desk for just a few moments feels like trying to sneak out of a maximum-security prison? Let's dive in!

Let's start with a question. How many of you feel like your day is one giant to-do list, with no room for rest or relaxation? If you nodded along or let out a weary sigh, this episode is for you. Before we get to the tips portion of this podcast, let's just think for a moment about why it is so difficult to take breaks.... First, as we have discussed in previous episodes, in today's world, being busy is often seen as a badge of honor. It's as if constantly being on the move equates to importance and success. You know the mantra: "If you're busy, you're productive." But here's a fun fact from a Stanford study: productivity decreases after 50 hours of work in a week. So, more hours doesn’t necessarily mean more work done. Second, there's the mirage of multi-tasking. We often think, "Why take a break when I can eat my lunch with one hand and answer emails with the other?" But numerous studies, including ones from the University of Michigan, have shown that multitasking can reduce our efficiency and even lower our IQ temporarily. Breaks help us reset and actually improve focus.

And, ahhh there's always the guilt factor, that ever-present companion. Some workplace cultures, unfortunately, equate taking breaks with laziness. We worry about how our colleagues or superiors might perceive us. "Will they think I'm slacking off?" But remember, taking breaks is scientifically proven to boost creativity and productivity. It's not laziness; it's strategic rejuvenation.

Oh and one last reason... the illusion of immortality. Okay, not literal immortality, but we often act as if our energy levels are infinite. We think, "Just one more task, and then I'll take a break." But then another task pops up, and another, and another. Before we know it, hours have passed. We're not superheroes, folks. Even the Energizer Bunny needs to recharge!

To wrap things up, my dear listeners, breaks are not a luxury; they're a necessity. They're the pit stops in our marathon days, ensuring we reach the finish line in top form. So, the next time you feel that pang of guilt or hesitation, remember the wise words of Ovid: "Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." Now let's get to some helpful tips:

Tip number one: Break up big tasks. If you have a task that's going to take several hours, split it into smaller parts. It's like eating an elephant, folks! You can't do it in one bite, but you can one bite at a time.

Tip number two: Embrace the power of the Pomodoro Technique. Work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. After four cycles, take a longer break. It's like interval training, but for work!

Tip number three: Make the most of your breaks. Don't just scroll through social media or stare blankly at the wall. Do something you enjoy. It could be reading a book, going for a walk, or even playing a quick game of 'Candy Crush'. No judgment here!

Tip number four: Use technology to your advantage. There are plenty of apps out there that can remind you to take breaks. It's like having a personal assistant, but for relaxation!

And finally, tip number five: Don't feel guilty about taking breaks. Rest isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. It's like gas for your car. You wouldn't expect your car to run without gas, right? So, why would you expect yourself to work without rest?

Remember, folks, breaks aren't just about avoiding burnout. They're about enhancing productivity, boosting creativity, and improving well-being. So, give yourself permission to rest. You deserve it.

And that's a wrap for today's episode. I hope these tips help you create space for rest in your workday and make your work a more enjoyable experience. Don't forget to check out each podcast page to find helpful readings that I draw from to create these little recordings. Until next time, remember: you're not a machine. You're a human being. So, take care of yourself.

Signing off, your friendly neighborhood OD consultant.

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