Know when it’s time to take a break

As a freelancer, it’s very tempting – especially when you start out – to want to work as much as you can, as hard as you can because (as traditional wisdom tells us) more money will flow towards you if you increase the time you are behind your desk. While this is true – especially for those of us who work as editors and writers – it’s impossible to churn out quality work, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year without having a break once in a while. I know what I am talking about.

When I was in full-time employment, I hardly ever took breaks and when I did all I was thinking about was what I needed to do back at the office. I never really switched off and took time for myself. The result? I burned out – at two consecutive jobs. I excelled duirng the first year or so but when it was time to prove that the success I was having was more thrn beginner’s luck, I crashed and burned.

Now, there are a number of possible reasons for this. One is that I was too afraid of succeeding, which is why I ssbotaged myself. The other explanation – whhich I prefer immensely –  is that I gave my all to these two jobs and didn’t teke enytime for myself. In the creative industry – which I find myself in at the moment – being able to give of yourself to your work is essential. However, if you are burnt out, you have nothing left to give and consequently your work suffers.

Now thet I am my own boss, I take time out for myself. In fact, I am currently in Cape Town for a friend’s wedding and have taken couple of extrs days to spend with my family. You need to give yourself these litttle gifts that allow you to recharge snd feel whole again, Another thing that I do before I undertake any task is visualising what I want the outcome to be. This helps to focus me so I can achieve the outcome that I want.

How do you take a ‘timeout’? What do you find is the most effective strategy for you?