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As humans, occasional retreats are necessary because that is how we get rest, reignite our fire and bounce back with energy to continue on the journey to efficiency and productivity.

However, we sometimes get so engrossed with life and work and personal issues that we refuse to pay attention to our own need to take a break and do nothing but rest and allow your body and mind heal.

So instead, our body and mind revolts and breaks down, screaming and letting us know they need a break.

How do you know you should take a break?

Simple.

When you begin to experience any of the 8 signs below, you should take a break.

1. You’re watching hours and hours of pet videos at the office during work hours.

Seriously. Maybe it’s cats. Maybe it’s reruns of Bridgerton . Maybe it’s random YouTube videos. The point is, you are no longer focused on your work. What you do seem to care about though, is how to pass the time.

2. You make careless mistakes that shouldn’t have happened.

When you stop caring, you tend to make careless mistakes. You accidentally drop your purse into the trash can at a restaurant. Your emails suddenly contain embarrassing typos. You look like a confused deer when you’re asked for your opinion in a meeting because you weren’t paying attention the whole time. You call a coworker by the wrong name because your brain cannot process their real name.

3. You’re emotionally overwhelmed and sometimes, you cry for no reason.

You’re upset, irritated, angry, frustrated, or sad over what would normally be a small issue. This happens to almost everyone. If you find yourself breaking down emotionally, that might be a good time to consider a break. Maybe it means walking outside for 30 minutes. Maybe it means buying a one-way ticket to Hawaii to lay on the beach and bask in the sun. Maybe it means driving to a resort nearby for a weekend. Take a deep breath, collect yourself, and consider taking a break.

4. You’re always exhausted.

Feeling tired for a day? That’s absolutely normal. Feeling tired for an entire month? That’s definitely not normal. Remember to get enough sleep and to take care of yourself. While it’s great to be hyper productive for a short period of time, it’s usually not worth it in the long term. Pace yourself.

5. You hate waking up for work

The alarm goes off and the first thing you think is “I really don’t want to go to work.” You no longer feel inspired by the company mission. You feel like you can’t make an impact anymore. You feel like you’re going through the motions. It’s time for you to step away. Take a moment for yourself. When you remove yourself from the situation, you allow yourself to think more clearly and to get a fresh perspective on what the next step should be.

6. You’re having trouble falling asleep

You have too much on your mind — that next project, that big deadline, that promotion you’ve always wanted, that coworker who seems like they can’t stand you. If you’re starting to lose sleep over work, it’s time to take a break. If you don’t take the break, the lack of sleep will start to hurt your health and your passion, energy, and focus will start to fade.

7. You’re getting physically sick a lot.

If you’re under a lot of stress, not sleeping well, and working crazy amounts of hours, your immune system is probably under a lot of duress and you’ll likely get sick quite often. Don’t let your physical health go sideways — take some time off and go on a break!

8. You’re dreaming of quitting work with no plan in place

You’ve romanticized the idea of quitting in your head. You have no back-up plan or next steps in place. It’s a clear sign that you’re simply trying to get away. Instead of making a quick decision with huge implications, it may be best to take a short break to see if that’s what you truly want.

If you’re seeing these signs, take a moment, take a step back, and take a break — you’ll be better for it.

Habits are the things that we are used to doing on a daily or a weekly basis — or, basically, whenever there is an action that repeats itself in regular intervals.

After living a quarter of your life or so, you may think that what you’ve developed in your childhood is what will define you for the rest of your life. Even if some of the habits and personal traits that we’ve developed are holding us back, our mind often chooses to ignore the damages and to resist any kind of change that might usurp the status quo.

After all, the fast-paced life, having (or not having) children, and a regular job can have you wanting for a routine that will define you and help you cope with everything. However, if the routine is damaging to your mental health and your self-improvement, maybe it’s time for a change.

The routines that we develop and our immediate surroundings (people we see every day or on a regular basis) can sometimes even hold us back and prevent us from fulfilling our life goals. It’s imperative to recognize these poor influences and elevate yourself above them, and the first step towards it is to realize that you are stagnating. There are some definitive signs of stagnation and here I will try to present them to you and (hopefully) show you how to tackle them.

Negativity

Have you ever started planning something that is supposed to change your life/make you rich/perfect your skills, only to have the mental piece of paper with the plan crumpled and thrown to the back of your mind because “it would never work”? This happens a lot to people. The current global situation (which, actually, has never been better), your material situation, or a lack of will can all keep you pinned in place.

There is no reason to think that something will fail because “it would never work.” You cannot know until you’ve given it a well-planned try.

However, negative thinking is not entirely your fault. It can also come through…

Negative Environment

This starts with your friends and family, but is not limited to them. Oftentimes, it will be your friends who will poke holes in your plans because they want to try and keep you in the status quo. They will not do this because they have ill intentions, instead, they will see it as doing you a favor and being honest with you. People like the status quo and do not like to see it changed. It will threaten their comfort zone (more on that later) and put them in situations they have not prepared for. Of course, none of this is on the forefront of their logic and most of the time they are not even aware of this fact.

While this is no reason to abandon your friends completely and sever all ties to them, sometimes a change of environment can do a lot of good. Have a new hobby? Start hanging out with people who have the same one.

Or, sit at a bar or café alone and try to find someone interesting to talk to. Talking to new people brings new perspectives on life. Sometimes, that is all you need to push ahead.

Inability to Make a Plan and Stick to It

When you do finally make a plan, the hardest part is actually sticking to it. For example, you want to improve your physical wellbeing by going to the gym. You’ve found a program that will get you fit and help you improve your conditioning. The plan involves daily exercises.

You may do it for three or four days and then skip one — because, hey, you deserve a break. Or you just start procrastinating from day one, thinking how you’ll work twice as hard tomorrow, or something like that.

This will effectively prevent you from making a change. The most important part of every plan is sticking to it. This may take a lot of willpower, but the change will be worth the mental effort. You can do it and you can do it today. Not twice as much tomorrow, not in a couple of days, but today, as it is the only day when you can fulfill what you planned, and it’s all up to you.

This part may also include doing away with some things, like…

Your Comfort Zone

It is a popular saying nowadays that “you can’t make a joke in 2016 without offending anyone.” Everyone has their “safe space,” which works like a bubble of your beliefs and habits which comfort you, telling you that things are alright and nothing needs to change. Stepping out of it, sometimes even for a moment, brings about anxiety, panic attacks, or just a flat-out denial that there is anything good on the outside.

If you wish to change, there will be a lot of things that will lie outside this bubble. It will involve doing things that you have never done before or even heard of. And it’s always easier to default back to the comfort zone and feel content with what you have than to step outside of it and feel outright lost. But it has to be done. It is the only way to achieve personal progress.

No one is good at everything at the first try. The whole history of mankind is a trial-and-error process and, without it, we would never get to where we are today. It’s not about “I can’t do this,” but about “I’ve failed now, but I know what not to do next time.”

Also, living in your comfort zone almost always leads you to feeling like you know it all, and to…

Not Identifying Your Weaknesses

Habits and routines developed during childhood and teenage years slowly take over your life. We are all looking for stability. Once you are buried in your routines, you will not see that some of them are, actually, your weaknesses.

Have you, perhaps, developed a habit that is hurting your health (mental or physical)? Do you have work to do, but you’ve decided to Netflix and chill instead? You’d think that these habits simply help you to relax, take your mind off things, or just help you get the job done, but they will also prevent you from seeing how they are hurting you.

Realizing that you have a weakness is the first step towards improving in that field.
Scrolling social media feeds, for example, may relax you, but it will also keep you lazy and can even leave you unmotivated to do anything.

Alcohol may be good as a social lubricant (by far the best description of it that I’ve seen in my life), but drinking everyday, even binge-drinking, can become a habit.
You think that everything is normal, but it actually heavily influences your decision-making and, in the end, can ruin your life. It is essential to see things for what they are, not only for the good that they bring you.

Once you’ve realized that you have a weakness, you can choose to rectify it yourself, but this is not always possible.

Conclusion

Some habits grip us hard and they (or we) do not wish to let go. That’s when it’s the time to talk to a professional and get some advice.

Basically, habits can hold us back. The world is in constant change and we must change, too, in order to stay on top. There is no recipe for a perfect life, as much as you think you’ve found it.

Challenge yourself at every step and step out of that comfort zone. After a while, you’ll feel that it was all worth it and that life has meaning again.

Being busy means doing stuff, being productive means getting stuff done. However, it seems we live in a world that rewards being busy and at times where being is praised and almost rewarded. Many of us are preoccupied with the notion that busy automatically translate into being productive. You are likely to run the risk of just feeling busy but without actually accomplishing much.

I used to be mentally and physically exhausted and felt like I never stopped

My days were ever rushed

I always felt overwhelmed and at times inundated with work

No matter how early, or how quick I tried to work, I never seemed to get anything accomplished

I used to get frustrated at the end of the day having spending my energy and achieved a few things.

Despite my input, I never achieved much and I despised this. After going through this quote, I figured what I was doing. I was being everywhere, had no focus, a million priorities but was just busy, busy being unproductive.

Ask yourself, which is better making the most out of a few hours and getting things done or taking all day’s hours and getting less accomplished. If you struggle with the answer, you are probably caught up like I was in the ‘busy’ mode, but for some of us the answer is now easy.

By being busy you are demonstrating a disturbing form of lazy thinking and thoughtless. You find yourself celebrating your mediocre performance as you can only do a lot of small things. What happens to the bigger few things where it matters most? You are a busy person if you answer the question by asking, but how could I have achieved them, my plate is always full, cant people realise how much work I have to do? The moment you find yourself in a ‘busy’ comfort zone means you are hardly productive.

It is true that as people we are limited to what we can achieve within the limits of time. With that in mind, it is paramount to effectively prioritise and set realistically achievable targets. They say if you have 3 priorities, you have priorities. However, when those priorities shoot off to 25, then you have a mess.

When you start a day with goals and objectives, you know you have been productive after getting quality work done and get closer to reaching all your goals. On the contrary, you can use up all the time looking busy but getting constantly distracted even by work that never allow you to achieve your set goals and targets.

How do I free up my time at work, business or even at home and enhance my productivity?

You should appreciate that you don’t get desired results by involving yourself even when you can automate some of the things. Some of the work can be done much easily by using software, engaging virtual assistants,

Be in love with planning, try and get demanding work by 11am and maximise on your multi-tasking abilities. Identify activities that can be simultaneously accomplished, whether they are inclusive or exclusive. It helps to free up time.

Prioritise at least 3-5 things you really need to get done. Even a machine, also gets worn out, don’t try to be a superman. There are always unforeseen circumstances that are bound to creep in, wearing you out and making it difficult to accomplish things.

You can do well managing your own clutter, but opening doors and letting in a barrage of request might just be the worst thing. At times you need to eliminate possible sources of distraction at point go. Keep away from people who burden your day with never ending request but instead zero in on your goals. Often you can easily get distracted by colleagues, friends or family who dumps time consuming request on you. As a busy person you never take a glance but are quick to say yes to all request whist a productive person takes a cautious and measure approach.

It is a certainly a must to have knowledge of what disturbs you as a step in getting productive. Ever notice how curious and anxious you can be when you notice a new facebook notification, an Instagram message, a watsapp message or even an email. You are quick to drop everything and focus on that and quickly reply. Chances are, once you start dealing with your social media or emails, you end up spending longer than even planned leaving you less focused on important tasks.

Such daily distractions whilst they keep you busy can easily fool yourself to think that you are being productive. You can hardly focus on what really makes a difference but fill your time with things add little or no value. Such distractions can easily push you off your path.

Being busy can be overwhelming but unfortunately there is nothing to show for it. Stop getting busy and start getting productive, focused on what you should be doing, prioritise and learn to say no to avoid any distractions.

Source: Sheconquers