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‘Hustle culture,’ ‘burnout culture,’ ‘ grind culture.’ 

The mentality that one must work non-stop in pursuit of their professional goals has been glamorized in the media and through those who have already ‘made it.’

Countless leaders have expressed sentiments that extolled the virtues of pushing through - that success depends on the hours you put in and the sacrifices you’re willing to make. 

If you’ve set lofty goals for yourself, you may be inclined to hustle in your quest to see success. Any time not directly working towards your goal is wasted… Right? 

The case for pushing through

When you’re working towards a goal, it may feel as though any moment you aren’t actively pursuing it is wasted. This is the mindset behind a recent study which revealed that more than half (55%) of Americans are not using all their paid time off. 

The ‘no need to rest’ phenomenon is not partial to North America, workaholics are found all over the world.

The thinking that drives this behavior is that - by pouring every spare moment into your goal - you are more likely to reach (or exceed) your goals. While your competitors are sleeping, you are charging ahead towards success.

The case for refueling

In spite of the individuals who seem to survive on caffeine and adrenaline, however, studies have proven that taking the time to refuel is actually more beneficial to your success.

Your body (and your brain) have been hard-wired to need rest, and the science is beginning to be heard. 

According to one study, your productivity levels go up with regular breaks. When you take a break from working on a task, even for just a few minutes, your brain can reset, reversing any negative effects of work and allowing your subconscious to solve problems you may have been experiencing.

As individuals become more aware of the harmful effects of pushing through work without a break, organizations are beginning to take notice.

The idea of allowing people to refuel is gaining momentum, and has been adopted by companies looking to boost productivity and increase employee wellness. Giving individuals the opportunity to shut off the incessant push of productivity has proven to be beneficial, for both the individual and the organization. 

What happens if you don’t refuel?

Individuals who stay “on” all the time are more likely to experience depression, burnout and anxiety. When you don’t give yourself adequate time to rest and refuel, eventually your brain and your body will give out. The constant push can have detrimental health effects, negatively affect personal relationships and cause you to become disillusioned with your goals.

Ways to refuel

For most people, the idea of taking extended amounts of time to refuel seems out of reach. If you’re not sure where to get started on refueling, start small. 

Here are three tips to get started: 

  1. Take frequent breaks during the day. One methodology, known as the Pomodoro Technique, instructs people to work 25 minutes and then take a break for 5. Companies who have encouraged employees to implement this technique have found that employees were more productive and were more engaged in their work than their counterparts who plow through daily tasks without breaks.
  2. Give yourself one night a week off. Turn off your cell phone, put away your laptop and take the night off. It will allow you to refuel and decompress. When your brain is free of work-related thoughts, you can think more clearly, have more productive work hours and feel more fulfilled.
  3. Use up your vacation days. It may seem strange at first, and you may be worried about getting all your tasks done, but the benefits of taking an extended amount of time off can’t be beat.

Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? It may be time to refuel.

Interested in learning more about refueling? Check out our blog, where we explore new topics regularly.

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