Do You Take Enough Breaks?

Even though Christmas and New Year have just finished, I don’t think I really took my mind off work for very long.  I think when you run your own business you never get any time off, you’re always thinking about what needs to be done and how you can achieve it around your many other responsibilities.

Yesterday I had an appointment at the doctor’s (my first trip to a French doctor since moving here in October).  I don’t know what it was, but when I got home I had a coffee with my Mum and decided I would give work a break until after lunch.  So lunchtime came and went, I did a few chores around the house and my boyfriend went off for the afternoon (he’s renovating a farm) and I stood on the doorstep and realised how much time I spend sitting at my desk and how much of the lovely weather I hadn’t seen in the last few weeks.

Hadn’t I moved to France for a different lifestyle?  Set-up my own business so I could dictate my own working hours?

So I jumped on my bike and went for an impromptu ride along the river, I gave myself a target of getting 2 miles and then turning round and coming back so in total I would have done 4 miles.  It was a little hard going as I’d not ridden my bike for a while, but I made it!  Not happy with just a half an hour bike ride, I decided I would take a bit more of a break and catch up on some English TV I had to watch.

I went back to work at 4.15pm and was far more productive, not feeling sluggish and tired.  It worked wonders!  While watching the TV I decided that I would factor in some breaks each day, maybe not anything as energetic as a 4 mile bike ride, but even a 15 minute walk outside would help.

I guess the point of this blog post is to remind you that taking a break from work, even if you are busy is likely to improve your creativity and your productiveness.  I found this great Ezine article called 7 Reasons to Take Breaks at Work – what great reasons to take a break!

So, on my new whiteboard (see my blog post Help Family and Friends Understand you ARE Working!) I am going to note down on my to-do list each day half an hour of ‘ME’ time, whether that’s going for a bike ride, a walk to the shop, or just reading a non work related book.

Do you take breaks?

I would be really interested to hear how many of you take regular breaks from work, what you do and how it helps?  If you want to take more breaks at work but you are just too busy, then why not look at outsourcing to a virtual assistant, my blog post 20 Reasons for Hiring a Virtual Assistant will give you some great reasons why you should.

Guest Blog: Oh The Tedium… Virtual Assistant Jobs That Drive You To Distraction

12 Ideas to Help you Focus on What is Good

You started out your business as a Virtual Assistant and over the first few weeks or even months, you took on jobs at a low rate just to get you started.   These jobs have continued to provide you with a dripping tap of low hourly rate, but money each week.  Some of these jobs may now be driving you to distraction and it’s easy to forget how glad you were of them when you were starting out.

Here are some tips to help you see what you’re really doing when you’re bored and distracted.

1. Imagine an upturned egg timer, the sand sifting through grain after grain becomes pennies or cents and gradually fills the gaps in your business account.

2. Think back to the beginning, re-feel the feelings and re-member the memories of the excitement of having your first client.

3. Remind yourself that you must be doing a good job, you still have your first client.

4. Make yourself a book of testimonials, okay on the Internet if you have to.  Re-read this book when you’re wondering what the hell you’re doing.

5. Yes, make it, it may sound like a waste of your time and it is good to reflect on what you’re doing well and how your clients past and present see you.

6. Okay, now remember back even further to when you were dancing to someone else’s tune.  Think about how you felt each morning when you got up for work and struggled in whatever the weather and however you were feeling.  Then remember all those moments in the working day when you wanted to scream.  And breathe………

7. Add up how many hours per day you’re now working and subtract from the hours you were working.  Now subtract your total travelling hours.  How does that look?  If you’re getting this right (and it might be early days so let’s not get carried away) then the hours you spend commuting and working away from home should exceed the hours you now spend working.

8. Now consider your health and physical well being.  For instance, when did you last have a headache?  What about tension across your shoulders.  Consider any other health related symptoms you have experienced and measure whether these have improved.

9. How many cold/flu germs have you been in contact with recently?  How many cold and flu germs would you already have been in contact with were you still commuting/working away from home.

10. How are your relationships with the important people in your life?  Are you seeing more of them, is the time you spend together more plentiful and does it have more quality?

11. Food, how is your diet now?  Are you eating more healthily?  My guess is you have more time to cook, and need processed and takeaway food less often (but that’s a guess).

12. So, next time you’re feeling bored to distraction with those tedious jobs that earn you very little, check out this list and your book (you know the one you made) of testimonials and remember how much happier you are.