Take Scheduled Breaks
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

In today’s hyper-fast and globally competitive world, it is easy to believe we have no time for rest.  We must keep moving – always – or so we believe.  We also now know this is a recipe for burn-out and hurting our health.  As human beings, we need proper rest – sleep, breaks, and relaxation.  We are not machines.  Acting like a machine is a formula for disaster.

In fact, what is most valued today is the creativity of our leaders and teams.  In a survey of top leaders world-wide, creativity was the top job skill most desired.  To foster creativity, we must be properly rested and have the time to think.  We can’t do that if we are always rushing and “on-the-go.”  We need to build in rest and play if we are to maintain our edge in how we create and execute.

Planning breaks, relaxation, and rest are essential to our ability to perform at our best.  The science and our own experience lead us to this conclusion.  However, it is easier said than done. We need a strategy to be successful at it.  Do you have a strategy that works for you?

The building blocks of our lives are days and weeks.  They are natural ways to organize our life.  Use each day and week to build in times to relax, take breaks, sleep, and be available for creative activity.  Schedule play.  Schedule sleep.  Schedule open times.  Use your schedule for more than meetings and projects. If you are going to succeed at being creative and healthy you will need to be intentional about it.

For me, as a morning person, I use this time to pray and reflect, prepare for my day, and write.  I also schedule my most important activities in the morning if I can.  It is when I have the most energy.  I take breaks – even 5 minutes makes a world of difference.  I leave work at a reasonable time in order to spend time with family or relax.  I exercise regularly to help me recharge.  These are all ways I am intentional about my energy through proper break, rest, and relaxation—and it’s quite easy to manage.

Today’s leaders must be more concerned about energy management than time management.  We all have the same 24-hour day.  If we think of our lives as the hours of the day, we will pack them full and leave little room for rejuvenation. If we manage our energy, we will take charge of what makes us most valuable – our creativity and our humanness.  As technology grows, it’s our creativity and humanness that make us most valuable.

What are you doing to enhance your creativity?  Are you scheduling your breaks, play, and sleep?  Do you take advantage of your normal peak energy hours of the day?  How can you help others maximize their creativity and energy?  These are important questions to consider as leaders so we can be our very best at work – and in life.

Looking for more? Download my Amazon Bestseller, Present-Future Leader:  How to Thrive in Today’s Economy.