• Claire Matuka

Productivity == Taking breaks

Updated: Oct 2, 2021



(Just incase you are wondering why I put two equal signs instead of one, no it's not an error, it's the love for Python)

I considered my high-school entry exams a strange phenomenon in my life, up until recently. High school operated in such a way that there were approximately 3 months of learning followed by a 1 month break. The entry exams would start immediately after the 1 month holiday and I would always, and I mean always, excel at these exams even after a month of absolutely no reading. To top it all off, I would actually enjoy the last minute studying in comparison to mid-term and the oh-so-dreadful end-term exams. Throughout the years, my performance always had the same trend. It went from extremely good to “could have been better” as we progressed from entry to end-term exams.

Now that I think about it, I believe the 1 month break served as a rejuvenation of sorts. I always came back more productive, more excited and for lack of a better phrase, ready to kill it! My mind craved to learn and was ready to learn and this reflected on my results. The sad thing about real life is that there are no forced breaks, especially if you are employed. It is very common to get caught up in all that we have going on that we rarely ever take a moment to pause and reset.

Over the past 2 months, I had made it my life mission to improve my productivity. I did not feel like myself and it was taking a lot of effort as well as time to complete tasks that would otherwise have taken me minutes. Life was moving fast and I could not afford to slow down (this even includes watching movies). So the journey began. I am talking about reading books, taking notes, watching these "Day in the life of a data scientist" videos and even listening to the likes of Les Brown and Lisa Nichols day and night (love listening to these two). This only helped temporarily and even though I was not willing to admit it, I was tired and exhausted. I had been on overdrive and my mind and body had had enough.

For anyone out there, especially my fellow young and ambitious Gen Z. In my pursuit to be more productive, I found that, it's ok to take a break. From my little research here are some signs that you need to take a break:

  • Poor concentration when handling tasks

  • Insomnia

  • Restlessness and anxiety

  • A lack of interest in things you actually love (hobbies and the likes)

  • A change in attitude (irritability, quick to anger, negativity)

  • Frequent illness (this is actually because your immune system is weaker)

Here are the benefits of taking a break:

  • A boost in productivity (this means you do less to achieve more)

  • Increased focus

  • More creativity

A break acts more like a recharge to your system. As we continue to achieve our career and life goals, lets remember to keep calm and take a break. As for me, allow me to reset, play my piano, rethink my life goals for the millionth time, and as Tim Ferriss said; "Focus on being productive instead of busy".