Knowing When To Take a Break

My friend, Garick, once told me "Remember, the candle that burns twice as bright burns twice as fast..." He got that from Blade Runner. 🙂

I am the quintessential over achiever. It’s not something that I’m really proud of. It’s just a part of me. When I was still under the auspice of my lovely parents, they would always remind me to sleep…take a break…enjoy my youth. However, I realized that when I left the nest things got immensely worse.

I launched my own company in the midst of a recession right before getting laid off from my full time gig. I was pulling long nights and weekends for a startup. In between hustling new clients and taking meetings I decided that this was the time I’d go back to school. Then factor in the residual work that it takes to keep all of these ventures humming along with some modicum of success — homework, late night accounting and billing, shooting off emails at 2am, coordinating teleconferences over multiple time zones — and you have yourself one tired puppy.

One way I’ve decided to overcome this is to not sit at my desk for too many consecutive hours at a time. Now, mind you, this is coming from someone who spends at least 12 days in front of a computer, 7 days a week. (Insane, isn’t it?) This little trick I’ve devised requires only some tealight candles and a glass.

When you sit down at your desk to work, light the tealight candle. Place it in the glass so you don’t burn your office (home or otherwise) down. Immerse yourself and completely focus on your work without distraction. When the tealight goes out, take a break….and then repeat. If you still decide to power through after the light goes out, just think back to the quote I opened up this post with: “Remember, the candle that burns twice as bright burns twice as fast.”

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