It was a holiday weekend! I meant to enjoy myself, but instead I spent three days catching up on everything: school, work, things around the house. And I spent the weekend worried that I wasn’t getting enough done, feeling overwhelmed and like I’d never catch up, even with these extra three days.
Come Tuesday morning, I realized I was more tired after my holiday weekend than I was before it. I wasn’t caught up at all, just more frazzled.
I forgot that trying to be productive when you feel nothing but overworked is actually counter-productive. You end up getting less accomplished, and you end up not nearly doing the job you could have done if you were focused and relaxed and excited to get back to work.
You aren’t any good to yourself, your work, your life if you’re overwhelmed and underperforming, distracted and frantic and unhappy.
The solution? Take a day off. Give yourself time to stop thinking about everything you need to accomplish, and let yourself do what you want to do. Why?
- Your health depends on it. Studies show that stress takes a serious toll on your health, increasing the possibility of heart disease, hypertension, and weight gain, plus anxiety, insomnia, and more. Taking time off lets you relax, reduce your stress levels, and stay healthier.
- Your creativity depends on it. When you take time away from the problems you’re wrestling with, you’re giving yourself a chance to recharge. Tackling a problem with a new perspective will give you new insight into solutions, and help you discover even opportunities.
- Your goals depend on it. You love your work, and you love school—but when that’s all you do, you start to get burned out. When you take a break, you come back refreshed and eager to keep working toward your goals.
- Your focus depends on it. Take the time to let yourself do the things that distract you from work—finish the book you want to read, watch the show that’s waiting for you on your DVR, finish a project you’ve been meaning to tackle. When you let yourself do the non-work things you’re always thinking about, you increase your focus when it’s time to work.
- Your productivity depends on it. When you take time off, your whole outlook improves and your happiness increases. Happier people work harder, feel more focused, and are excited to concentrate on the work that’s important to them.
So consider instituting strict working hours, use the weekends for fun, and even schedule a vacation—it’ll make you work harder, better, faster, and make you happier, too.
Sara Nelson is the Social Media Guru for California College San Diego, overseeing the college’s profiles on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and more. She is also a student in the Master in Business Administration (MBA) program, and she enjoys spending time with her family, listening to good music, and eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.