All Work and no Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy

As an entrepreneur, you’re probably very good at working hard. Many fail see the value of taking a break. Here’s Rebekah Lyons, in an interview with Alex Sanfelippo, describing a more balanced approach. The interview is about 34 minutes long. On the linked page there’s a brief outline of what she covers.

It’s very easy for a business owner, or anyone driven to succeed, to buy into the “work harder” syndrome.

The truth is, if you keep your head down for much more than an hour, your effectiveness diminishes. When you’re working, or concentrating on other routines in your life, it’s important to take breaks. 

I have to admit I sometimes violate this. I can get engrossed in writing and lose two or three hours very easily. I do my best to guard against that, and it still happens.

The most effective breaks come in several varieties. You should be intentional about taking:

  • 10-minute breaks during the day after 50-70 minutes of focused work.
  • A full day off from work each week.
  • A several-day, or even several-week vacation at least once per quarter.

In the hourly short breaks, some physical activity boosts the level of serotonin. 

Serotonin is known as the “feel-good hormone”. It helps you feel energized and upbeat, so you can return to focused work with renewed vigor. 

Levels of serotonin gradually decline during sedentary work. This can leave you feeling dull or lethargic. Physical activity restores your serotonin level – walking or other light exercise is ideal for this.

Your work keeps you physically active, you say? You still need the mental break to stay energetic and ideally focused.

Here’s a very good article on serotonin and melatonin, which work pretty much opposite to each other.

In Rebekah’s interview she talks about rhythms everywhere in life. In the world of work, she discusses:

Rest and Restore, which she places in the category of input rhythms.

Connect and Create, which she calls output rhythms.

Want a more effective work day? Want to get more done in a month? Follow Rebekah’s advice to bring more balance into your routine.

Many studies have shown it. You can do more in 6.5-7 hours, net of breaks, than in 8-9 hours of unbroken effort.