12 March 2008

Are You Heading For Burn Out?

If you had to think about the answer to that question then chances are that you need (and deserve) a break.

It's an easy trap to fall into. You're so busy, working so hard that you struggle to find time to take a holiday. I actually found myself in the same situation last week. Having managed to fit in booking a trip to go snowboarding, the departure date was fast approaching and I started to feel panicky about the trip. I was leaving a lot of work behind but could I afford to put it on hold for 4 days? Would everything fall apart? At one point I even considered canceling the trip.

Thankfully I didn't cancel. There came a point the day before I was due to leave when I said enough is enough. You have to stop now and get ready to leave in the morning. What you're in the middle of will have to wait.

And it was the best thing I could have done. I thought I needed to stay and work through the projects on the go at the moment. In actual fact, I reached better conclusions on every single one of these projects while I was away and not focusing on them. When I thought I needed to stay in front of a computer screen, I actually needed to be away from it. And the fresh mountain air of the French Alps was the best sharpener of the mind I could have asked for.

So let me reiterate what you already know deep down. Time off is essential for productive thinking. A change of scene can bring you all the answers you need. I've made a concerted effort to book my next trip in before work gets busy again and days turn to weeks without a proper break. Make sure you do the same. And if you're feeling really organised, take a moment to decide how much time off you'd like this year and sketch out exactly when you'll take it.

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