Yeah – I know, you probably don’t have time for a break, right?
We all have those days: Up early to get kids fed, dressed and off to school with some semblance of a healthy lunch. Then we hit the computer and cringe while reading the daily to-do list. There are new clients to meet with, marketing updates to get done, and your client from yesterday has changed their mind. Again. The phone rings off the hook and a steady stream of emails marked ‘urgent’ are hitting your inbox. Before you know it, it’s 2pm and you forgot lunch. That’s OK – ‘cuz what you really need is more coffee. 4pm and the kids are home, dinner is the furthest things from your mind and it’s gonna have to be Grilled Cheese sandwiches (again). 8pm and you’re just gonna have to PVR Survivor because you still haven’t finished re-formatting that client work. 11pm – exhausted but can’t sleep (thanks to all that coffee) and tomorrow’s ‘to-do’ list is looming over you like dark cloud.
Sound familiar? Who has time for a break?
The truth is, you will actually get more done if you force yourself to stop and take a breather once in awhile.
I won’t bore you with the details, but there are actual studies conducted by NASA and other performance ‘experts’ which prove that taking ‘renewal breaks’ can actually cause you to work more efficiently, be more productive, and allow you to spend less time actually working. In other words, the V.A. who takes breaks every 90 minutes or so will work at 90% capacity and get things done more efficiently while the V.A. who never leaves the computer will work at only 60% capacity – and make a lot more mistakes.
Athletes know that they must train their bodies diligently – but only for a certain amount of time. They know that stopping and allowing the muscles to recover & rebuild is the only way their bodies will become stronger. If they continued to exercise without any breaks…they would actually be harming themselves.
Virtual Assistants need to realize the same is true for them. Working for too long with no technology-breaks or stretches away from your desk will not make you a better V.A. In fact, your work will probably suffer, be of a lower quality, with more errors and in the long run, could harm your health.
I know this is difficult (and I need to start taking my own advice here) but I encourage you to schedule break times, completely away from the computer, every 90 minutes. Try it for a few days and please share your outcomes in the comments!
So…who’s with me? Let’s go for a break.