It is the nature of human beings to be occupied with activities or at least to be seen to be busy. A quick walk in the streets and you will meet droves of people rushing in every direction looking like they are headed to chair a serious meeting where matters on saving planet earth from an impending catastrophe will be discussed.
This nature of being busy has been replicated in the workplaces where people work themselves off (albeit profitably) to ensure organization remain useful to their various publics.
The daily, weekly, monthly and annual unmeasured commitment to our jobs sometimes turns our bodies and minds into working machines otherwise known as work-aholics which simply means we become the work and work becomes us. Yet a healthy human has a clear distinction between them and their job.
Once we enter the realm of being work addicts then certain things change.
Our perception of success gets tied to work, more work and people’s physical presence in the office. We get irritated by our colleagues who seem not to be as seriously engaged as we are.
If you are a boss, then your team’s performance reviews get pegged not on the final delivery but rather on their levels of busyness.
Work-a-holism in workplace manifests itself in interesting but dangerous ways.
I have witnessed cases where certain employees have gotten into the work grind to the point of never ever leaving the office in time. They become the early birds and night nurses. They send mails at wired hours of the night to everyone’s amazement.
The peak of it is when the said staff decides to go on a leave break. However a few days into their break, you see them strolling into the office looking for an unoccupied desk to do some “little work” they had not cleared before they went on leave to the bewilderment of all and sundry.
This scenario has played out again and again to the point that I concluded it is a psychological disorder in certain work environments and a simple piece of advice will go a long way to address the malady.
The disorder is marked by intense feeling of guilt when you are not doing anything especially work related in the office. It’s also characterised by the inability to wisely manage free/leave time.
The mind cannot just comprehend the thought of you taking a break and doing nothing.
When taking a month long break from work, this condition kicks in mostly in the second week. Employees so used to working just get bouts of confusion at the thought of not doing any work for a number of days
When the disorder is widespread in an organization, then a bad culture of always calling people from leave takes root.
Failure to respect your leave break by those in the office coincides with your inability to take rest and enjoy your rest time.
In the end you convince yourselves that you work in a high paced and pressured environment which needs “committed souls like us.”
If you exhibit symptoms of this disorder then it important to realise the following:
#1. It is okay just to rest and do nothing:
I know it is hard for you to wrap your mind around that statement but it is a fact and you can do nothing about it.
Learn to adjust your mind and teach yourself the new concept of being idle sometimes in life and enjoy it like it is the best thing that ever happened after sliced bread and end year bonus.
This is a skill that you must start working on right away before you drop down dead.
#2.Taking complete rest and just doing nothing is a fertile ground for fresh and creative thinking:
For you to think strategically and creatively about your career and related solutions you need a brain that is at rest and at peace with that fact.
Failure to appreciate that will mean you are always on the grind and your brain can only make use of the little outdated thoughts you had before you began that job or assignment.
This is the one reason why so many celebrated authors, artists and great entrepreneurs incorporate significant periods of work breaks in their daily routines. It boosts their creativity.
#3. Taking a break replenishes you mentally/emotionally and physically
By sticking to work throughout, you never realize the level of wear and tear your human faculties goes through which finally affects you productivity.
To be in great shape for your work, you need to appreciate your leave breaks more and more and treat them as seriously as you do your job.
A good uninterrupted break away from the workplace helps you go through a series of emotional healing and make you more mentally and physically stable for the tasks ahead.
Remember the other silent but powerful aspect of your job description is learning to rest and being comfortable with it.
#4. Taking a break gives you the opportunity to realize the ignored areas of your life
When you are swarmed with work your universe shrinks and all you see is work and it’s results.
When you take a deserved break, you have time to re-look into your entire wheel of life and ask yourself some tough questions.
You are able to look into the mirror and ask “who am I? I’m I still me and where am I headed in life?” (Sometimes we lose ourselves and become more like machines courtesy of the workplace cultures)
You will realize you need to work on your relationships beyond the office and other spheres of life you had ignored while in the wilderness of work.
#5. It re-ignites and re-focuses your life passion
It is very hard to fuel a vehicle in motion yet when it runs out of fuel, it stalls.
Learn to know when your life fuel is running low because of too much work. Upon realizing this depletion, take a break (into a fuel station) get a proper servicing and refuelling in readiness for the next destination.
When you take a break, you able to re-evaluate your previous speed and make a decision whether you need to increase, maintain or reduce it.
You are also able to look back into your life’s mission and see whether you have been heading in the right direction and if there is need to change your employer or enterprise venture.
#6. Learn from God or die
Isn’t it amazing that your creator in all His power and majesty took a break on the seventh day of creation (if you believe my version of creation). He rested from all His work that he had done. Who are you not to?
Learn to create your seventh day (your rest/leave break day) and make great use of it.
God set the manuscript for his creation and to succeed you must stick to it otherwise you will just die. Ooh yes!!
All said and done, it is important that we all learn to be comfortable with taking a break from work and use part of it just doing nothing since it is a significant portion in the success equation of our career lives.