Why taking a break from work can make you MORE productive

Are you guilty of pushing yourself too hard? Find out why taking a break from work can actually make you MORE productive. 

It’s all too easy to get into the habit of working every spare minute – especially if you work for yourself.

Got a few hours free on a weekend? Why not head into the office, or get the laptop out at home and get a head start on your latest project?

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Going on holiday or even just away for the weekend? It won’t hurt to take your laptop with you and check your phone. After all, you don’t want to miss anything important. And besides, you enjoy work.

But as much as work or your business may be your passion, we all need a break from it sometimes. And, as Jenny Winslow from Intouch Accounting explains, taking time out from work can actually make you more productive. Here’s why.

Going at it hammer and tongs for too long will wear you out

If you were exercising non-stop your muscles would eventually wear out. And exactly the same can be said for your brain. While your brain isn’t a muscle it does tire out, so ensure that you schedule regular breaks when you’ve got a full day’s work ahead of you.

It’s all too easy to think that if get your head down and plough on through then you’ll end up finishing earlier, freeing up your time to carry on with personal tasks. Be kind to yourself and remember that your brain needs a rest just as your body does.

A break will give you perspective when you and your client don’t see eye to eye

We’ve all been in those situations where you find it tough to be on the same page with your client.

While as a contractor or freelancer you’re there to complete their contract on time and to their specification, your professional opinion should always be respected if you have an idea as to how you can reach the desired end goal.

This type of conflict can cause unwanted stress which undoubtedly will have a negative impact on your work output.

So take a step back, let your client know that you can’t see a resolution at present and will come back to them the next day or after the weekend with a fresh mind. That way you both have time to think about how the issue can be resolved and will be able to see things more clearly when you discuss it again.

Struggling with a work task that’s not your field of expertise?

As a one woman band you’re probably used to turning your hand to a number of roles to keep your business active. From marketing manager to financial director, it’s up to you to keep your presence and success going. But when is the right time to admit you need a break from certain tasks?

If you feel a day-to-day task is causing you stress and eating up your day, it’s time to give your brain a rest and enlist the services of an expert. They specialise in their field for a reason, so let them take some of the strain to free up more of your time.

And make sure you use that time wisely, either by focusing on tasks you can do well and enjoy or taking a complete break from work and buying yourself some precious me-time.

Know when it’s time to take a proper break

Remember that sometimes you need more of a break than just scheduled pitstops. When the contracts are rolling in it can be tough to turn them down for a holiday, but it’s so important to set personal time aside for you.

Let clients know when you plan to take some time out, and when you will be back to accept new contracts or work. Clients will always prefer a contractor or freelancer that’s refreshed and ready to go, rather than one who is burnt out. Treat yourself to some time out and never feel guilty about it!

Final thoughts – breaks are good for your mind, body and soul!

As long as you return to the task at hand with a positive, fresh mind that’s ready to conquer your working day, taking breaks are a brilliant way to stay focused. So why not take a walk, catch up with an old friend, read a book or do some mindfulness meditation?

Whatever you choose, ensure it’s something that will relax your mind. We guarantee it will make you feel more relaxed, creative and productive when you return to work!

Jenny Winslow works for Intouch Accounting, the expert contractor accountancy firm for Limited Company contractors.