Machines have pause buttons. Humans don’t. In the proverbial “rat race”, we all need pit stops to avoid running out of gas, blowing gaskets or having our wheels come off. Anyone who goes non-stop at mach speed will soon burn out. If you think you do better under pressure, you must be a daredevil, because stress without relief can kill you! Numerous clinical studies prove that breaks, naps and vacations make us more alert, efficient and productive. They also make us healthier.
For decades, I was the CEO of a large, full service advertising agency, which was always under pressure to meet deadlines. Often, clients would say, “I need this yesterday! This is rush, rush!” Guess how I responded to those urgent requests? I took a break! Conscientiously, most people would think this is wasting precious time. But, it’s just the opposite. You will more than make up for that perceived lost time. By taking a few deep breaths and relaxing, you can let your subconscious do most of the work and that’s when magical things begin to happen. Your imagination and creativity will soon kick in. Always, to my client’s delight, “Shazam!” … I pulled another rabbit out of the hat! Those who have known me for decades will tell you, I have never felt under pressure.
Why? Because I made it a point to never work more than four days a week! However, those four days were amazingly productive. Our agency was recognized nationally, having won First Place Awards in several categories. But, on those other days, I made no business appointments whatsoever. instead, I enjoyed spending time with my wife, kids and our Springer Spaniels. I will never forget my first grade teacher asking me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I said, “I just want to be happy!” She remarked, “That’s a very nice thing to want to be!”
Early on, I learned that success does not bring happiness. Happiness brings success! There are countless stories about successful people who wisely decided to take a break. This is often the pause that refreshes. It will give you a much clearer perception with regard to priorities. Like many others, you may even discover a new passion and reinvent yourself. If you should ever feel “slammed”, “overwhelmed” or “inundated!”, tell your crew, “Hey! It’s time for a Pit Stop!”
(See “Working My Way Thru Kindergarten” on page 5)