“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.”
~ Bryant McGill

Work hard, yes! And, when body and mind start asking for a break, listen. No amount of white-knuckling will make up for distraction or fatigue, so when you feel it, deal with it. Step away from the work for even 5 minutes. Move, breathe fresh air, fuel yourself, engage with others.

You’ll come back to the work ready for another round of awesome. It’s how we work. It’s how your body works. Take the freakin’ break. Then watch the short video below, or read the transcript that follows for more reasons ‘nose to the grindstone’ is a productivity killer.

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here. Coming to you from yet another hotel room in Penticton BC, where I’ve taken another day to do some writing before presentations tomorrow. Not only do I have two presentations tomorrow, but I have one on Wednesday morning, I have one on Friday, and I have presentations on the following Monday and Tuesday. So I’m in a really busy stretch right now, feeling like “how the heck am I going to get it all done?”

If you ever have that overwhelm creeping in – and for many of us it happens every single day of our week – then I want to remind you of a couple things. The work will get done. Trust this. And if you have so much stuff to get done that you don’t think you’re going to get it finished, then you really do need to listen to your mind and body, and take care of yourself as you are attacking that task list.

Today I got up early, and I started writing pretty much right away. I had some food here in the hotel room, I had my coffee, and I gave myself an hour and a half of digging in and doing as much as I could. Now, if you’re like me, around the 90 minute mark or so, mind and body will start telling you it’s time for a break. You’ll get distracted, you’ll get hungry, you’ll start to twitch, your thoughts won’t come as clear. There’s all sorts of signs that your body and mind give you that you should no longer be pushing into the work.

So, even though I have more work then I can probably get done, I headed out for a walk for 15 or 20 minutes. I also grabbed a little bit more food. If we keep working under the stress of needing a break and being hungry, productivity goes down, the work that we produce is now of a lower level … and it’s going to take you longer to finish the work. Take the break.

So when I came back from the break I had another two hour stretch where I really kicked my own ass and did some good work. This will happen if you listen to your body. It’s how we work, it’s how your body works. Right around 12:30 I took another longer break, and this time I went for a 5K run along the beach here in Penticton. Then I stopped at Starbucks and grabbed some healthy food for lunch. True story. I came back here, ate my food, had a shower, cleaned myself up, and had yet another solid stretch until about 3:30 where I was working hard, hard, hard, hard, hard to get it all done.

Now, I have an event to be at at 7:00 tonight, so I’m going to take another quick little break. That’s kind of what I’m doing right now, and then I’ll go for another stretch of work before I go and meet the client. If you continue to push through to do the work, to do the work, to do the work, to do the work, to do the work … and you don’t take mind and body breaks, you’re not going to get the work done at the level that you could. You’re actually probably not going to get as much work done at all.

I feel like I’ve had a very productive day and I’m this close to having everything done. But if I had not stopped, I think that I would probably still be behind and I wouldn’t have reached my goal of getting everything done that I wanted to finish today. Another thing that happens when you push through, is you are now adding stress on stress. You’re stressed out because you’ve got lots of stuff to do, but then you don’t take the break, so you add stress on that stress. It’s not how we work.

So tell me your habits for taking the breaks when you are stressed. Tell me what works for you. Leave comments below, subscribe to my YouTube and my other socials down below. And I will be with you next time. We’ve got one chance to do this life and I say, dare to live it big.

Do the freakin’ work #DTFW, Take the freakin’ break #TTFB. Peace out.

Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc

Empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.


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