The Power of Time Off


As humans, we feel compelled to work. It’s in our DNA, we are meant to do, build, create things, be useful to others. Our bodies and minds are made to be put to work.

However, once in a while, we grow bored or tired of doing the same thing for many years in a row and ever so often we even reach a state of burnout from working too much and never truly resting.

So here comes the question: is there a way of merging these two components of human life — work and recreation — so that we may get to know ourselves better and become more productive?

Science says

In the century of speed and hurry, people seem to be taking work much too seriously. According to the American Psychological Association, work is one of the primary sources of stress, aside from money, family, responsibilities and health concerns. Studies show that people are taking less and less vacation days. Why? Because they worry that they will become dispensable.

And while its true that we need to work to make money, we shouldn’t put work above everything else, but rather on the same level, and obtain a perfect work/personal life balance.

One of the best ways to do that is to take some time off and focus on yourself. Who are you? What do you like to do? What would you like to pursue more intensively?

If you are worried that your professional interests are taking up more and more of your overall life, you could try taking the following steps:

1. Take some time off — it will be beneficial for both you and the business

Some people get new ideas and function best under pressure, in meetings, on deadlines, during brainstorms, etc. but at some point, they will surely become burned out, exhausted, therefore they will need to take some time off, in order to rest, refresh their minds, relax, recharge mentally and become innovative again.

We need time off to process and make sense of what we’ve recently learned and experienced, as well as to prepare for what will come next. Reality has shown that we are more productive when we return from a vacation or holiday, which is why we tend to say that we “recharge our batteries” during these periods. We reset our minds and create a better version of ourselves and then, we improve our work, our community, and eventually the entire world.

Even Bill Gates used to take a “think week” twice a year, from which he came back reenergized and empowered, and many say that his greatest innovations were born from these few days when he simply went and spent some time alone in the forest, pondering, reflecting and recharging his mind.

2. Define what your time off will look like

Vacations don’t necessarily need to involve city breaks, sitting on the beach, skiing or museums. You don’t have to do anything. You may just as well stay at home, hang with friends or simply take a two-hour drive to a new and pleasant place. The main idea is to unplug — stop taking your work home, checking your work emails, stop being “on call” all the time, even if your job doesn’t require you to do so, switch off all gadgets and separate yourself completely from work.

It would also be a great idea to spend less time on social media and the Internet in general and instead, spend more time in real life — get to know your surroundings, your neighbors, get in touch with what activities you most like to do, rekindle or strengthen relationships with friends, relatives and spouses.

3. Spend a few minutes each day doing nothing

Holidays may not be available at all times, since vacations days are limited and projects may not allow for us to be absent at the very moment when we feel the need for a break.

But there is something we can do every day without affecting efficiency and productivity — take a ten minutes break and spend it doing absolutely nothing: no talking to coworkers, no texting, no checking emails, no eating, no reading, no watching TV, etc. Simply rest your mind and give it the opportunity to start anew, refreshed.

4. Take things more slowly

We live in the era of speed — we have fast food, speed dating, everything available at the instant touch of our fingertips, on the Internet. Therefore, we should focus more on enjoying the things we like at leisure.

Optimize your time better: try to do the most important tasks first, at the beginning of the day, when you have the most energy and feel active; wake up just a bit earlier each morning, so that, at the end of the week, you will have an extra hour or more for activities or rest throughout the day; try to eliminate negative thoughts and statements — “I’m so busy”, “I never have time for anything” — if you think more positively, you will feel more confident and willing to make and take time off for yourself and your own needs.

5. Balance work with play

Our minds and bodies are not capable of functioning around the clock, and just as we need to sleep, lie in bed or take a long bath to rest our bodies, our minds also need recreation and repose. Just as the saying goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. However, all play and no work wouldn’t be a viable option either, since we would get bored and lose our creativity, inventiveness and drive.

Organize and plan a vacation, delegate you responsibilities and try to leave your gadgets at home while you are away. Even if you are simply meeting for a meal with someone, leave your phone aside and invest all your attention and interest in the person standing in front of you. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, travels fully, without the intrusive presence of devices that remind you of work or work-related obligations.

Bring back the sun

Applying these methods will help you deal with fatigue or burnout, counter their effects, or avoid them in the future. After all, prevention is better than treatment, so you should rest and take some time off before you get tired and experience negative effects.

At TRISOFT, we believe that time off actually improves productivity, helps employees maintain a good state of mental and physical health, boosts originality and innovation, brings inspiration and develops creativity. So when we leave work, we try to use our vacation days wisely and serenely, without reservations, because we’ve noticed that every time we get back from such a time off, we bring along good energy and enthusiasm to invest in all our great projects.