One of my clients this past week told me that after a day of meeting with her manager mapping out an end of year plan, she kept working well into the evening hammering out the details of the plan to share with him the next morning. After his review, he told her to take a few days off from the project so she could get a fresh perspective. It seemed as if he thought that her project plan faltered as she persisted in trying to finish it in such a quick manner.
She asked whether I thought she was better off staying with the project in a focused manner or should she have stepped back and given herself some time to reflect?
The “heroic leader” usually thinks that powering through adversity is the way to go and this creates a kind “toughness” that means you can endure any and all challenges. Research reported in Scientific American points to the importance of giving our brains a mental break during the day. Improved memory, sharper concentration, better creativity are all benefits of hitting the pause button.
While we might think of breaks as being formal affairs such as going for a walk, doing a mindfulness exercise or even taking a power nap, we also benefit from looking at “in-between moment” breaks. Many of these we already do such as when our minds wander during a meeting. We can make these more intentional and effective, for example, by not abiding to 60 minute meetings so that we have time to transition during our day and getting up from our desks regularly so that we have a little time to catch our “mental breath.”
© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2016