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How to take a break?

Happy Lunar New Year.

In New Zealand, almost all employees are entitled to have at least four weeks of paid annual leave per year. When I worked in China, I had ten days (similar to the situation in U.S). However, more annual leave does not necessarily mean life is easier. Sometimes, people find it even more exhausting after a break, or even suffer from boredom during the holidays. Our lives can be too busy to take a proper break.

So, how can we maximise our break to be a re-energising and a fruitful experience?

Firstly, define the break.

Make it meaningful. More than just “time away from work” For some, it can be doing nothing at home. For others, it can be a road trip or an experience in a foreign land. There are no formats for having a break. So, before everything starts, we should find out what kind of experience can make us a better version of ourselves during the break.

Where should we go during the break? Outdoors? Or indoors?

What is the optimal duration of a break?

What is the purpose of this break? It sounds like a stupid question, but it is essential for us to know the reasons, so we can plan the break accordingly to maximise its value.

Secondly, plan the workload.

Even though we are not supposed to work during our break, I choose to plan different scenarios rather than think about them all the time. For example, how many hours will we spend on our work? It can be one hour to two hours or ZERO hours, as long as this arrangement makes us comfortable.

How often do we check our emails? Set a slot every day to read emails and leave them to focus on what we are doing for the rest of the day.

How many authorities do we give to our colleagues? It depends on the different industries and different teamwork styles.

Thirdly, don’t get bored.

Bring something with us to kill time, especially for workaholics. It can be books if we are into reading; it can be a PlayStation if we are into video games, anything that can create a flow state for us. In the meantime, plan some activities. For example, I prefer a semi-planned break that includes some planned activities for each day and has a buffer for me to be creative and spontaneous.

Happy Lunar New Year and I hope you get rich.


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