an accountant's perspective


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Why you need to take a break!

Sometimes we need to take a break but there are so many obstacles in our way:

  • I won’t fit everything in
  • People will think I am lazy
  • I can’t afford to take time out
  • People are relying on me
  • Nobody else is taking a break

Then ultimately, we put the idea out of our minds and soldier on. But, is that the healthy option here? Are we a nation of workaholics? Do we take enough breaks?

And of course the answer is no we do not take enough breaks and this in itself can have detrimental effects on our health. Workaholics end up stressed which in turn clouds their judgment, makes them emotional wrecks and seriously reduces their level of productivity. If you do not take breaks away from work and small ones during your busiest days then you will end up being:

  • Stressed
  • Suffering from poor posture and maybe even poor physical appearance (looking tired/exhausted)
  • Tired and less productive
  • Ill because your immune system is not operating on full power
  • Mentally wrought and edging your way towards anxiety and panic issues

Here are six ways you can make a massive difference to your life and find time for those all-important breaks that you need to keep your energy and sanity levels intact.

1) Prioritise

Everyday there is 100 and 1 things to get done and we could all quite easily rush from one thing to the next without taking time to grab any food or talk to the person that works next to us. In effect all we are achieving is being chained to our desks and when one workload is quickly replaced by another there is no end to it in sight either.

So, the only answer is to start saying no sometimes. I know – how scary is that? But, the fact is that you can afford to turn down some work, you can afford to put some things on a lower priority list and you can afford to delegate some stuff to others. The skill of saying no is essential to a happy and well balanced life. If you cannot prioritise your workload then you will burn yourself out.

Set a routine for your day and stick to it. You will be surprised because people do wait and they will respect the fact that you are taking a lunch break or taking fifteen minutes for a cuppa and brainstorming session. Be ruthless about your day and map it out for you – everything else will fall into place and you will end up working harder during the time that you are at your desk.

2) Allow worries to surface

Do not bury your head in the sand or pretend nothing is wrong when it is. If you allow those worries and stresses to come to the surface then you are enabling yourself to deal with them. This may mean sharing them with someone else, doing a little research or simply admitting to yourself that they are a concern.

It can be liberating just to admit that something’s are beyond your control and no matter how hard you work there will always be stresses. Let them out, write them down, tell someone about them and they will instantly diminish in size and importance.

3) Make time for reflection

Go over your decisions and try and look at them from different perspectives. This means that you can catch problems early and keep evaluating your choices based on now – making sure they are still the best ones for you to make.

Mind maps are always good for this as you can visualise what is going on in that complex brain. There is always a cluster of thoughts revolving around one decision so get them onto paper and then you can see how they relate at which thoughts hold more weight.

4) Turn down your emotions

Try to view the world in a more rational way and do not look at peoples choices as personal. Most decisions are business minded so try and think of their reasons for making them. Annoyance and anger towards others only fuels a stressful working environment and fills you with doubts that are not easily resolved.

5) Enjoy yourself and your accomplishments

There are lots of reasons for not making time with friends and family: deadlines, workload, the expectations of others, it’s the social norm these days! But when you do stop you relax and you take in exactly what you are meant to be working so hard to enjoy. There is far too little enjoyment and living going on these days and far too much working long hours taking its place.

6) Do what comes up

It is not always the things that you are used to and comfortable with that make you the happiest in life. Take the chances that you are not sure of or just nudge you outside of your comfort zone because those are the ones that tend to open up more doors. Mix up your stable income with something that is a little riskier but could put you in perfect stead further up the line. You never know what you will be missing if you flatly turn down opportunities.