Take a Break

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Tim Gould’s post at HR Morning is titled: “‘Tis the season: Encourage your people to take a break.” It’s
about taking vacations and who’s doing it. Here’s the lead.

“Another sign the economy’s crawling back: A substantial number of workers
feel better about taking vacation this year than they did in Summer 2010.”

Let’s broaden the scope a bit. With Memorial Day just ahead, you may be
thinking about taking some time off. Me, too. And it’s a good thing. Human
beings aren’t meant to go full bore all the time. We need a change, we need
downtime, and we need rest and renewal.

Simple changes are a good way to work little breaks into your workday. Just
do something a little bit different for a while. If you’re sitting, stand up and
work. If you’re working on a project, shift to working on some routine
scheduling. If you’re working alone, shift to working with others. It doesn’t
take much.

Those simple changes will help keep your energy and efficiency up during the
day, but you need downtime, too. We call short periods of downtime “breaks.” We
call longer periods “time off” or “vacation.”

Carve out space in your day for your breaks. Otherwise the pace of the day
may overwhelm. My exercise time is a break for me. So is the time spent walking
the dog.

It’s important to carve out space for your longer periods of downtime. I try
to block out three in the twelve months ahead and make sure they appear on my

Learn what kind of downtime is best for you. I’m very disciplined and
efficient during my work days, so the best downtime for me is unstructured time.
When my friend Ray goes on vacation, he wants to take a course or go on a tour.
Not me. I want to go someplace and have no agenda other that waking up every day
and saying, “What should we do today?”

We need rest and renewal, too. That means enough sleep. It means taking time
for restful activities. I have friends who rest and recharge by gardening,
cooking, hunting antiques, playing cards, and painting. Even though I read all
the time at work, reading and conversation are still my favorite recreations.
The reading is anything that I don’t have to finish but that I could get lost

Boss’s Bottom Line

Time off is good for you and your team. Set the example, by taking breaks,
building downtime into your schedule, and taking time off regularly.

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