Working harder is usually not the answer to getting more done. In fact, pushing past your limits can lead to burnout, stress and sloppiness — all of which will halt your progress, if not undo what you’ve already accomplished.
As odd as it seems, science proves that naps, breaks and vacations are the key to making you more productive. You have to stop to move forward.
The answer is in the brain: If you’re focused on a problem and take a break, then your mind will continue to work on a solution. Research finds that your brain is more likely to come up with smarter answers when you aren’t concentrating so hard. By taking a break, you’re giving your mind more space to think clearly.
A quick break — try a brisk walk or a snappy chat with a friend — distracts you from your deep concentration and lets your subconscious continue to work on the strategy. A nap is an even better idea, as it takes your focus away even more and guarantees your mind won’t be disturbed. And a vacation — even a brief one — is scientifically proven to boost your long-term strategic thinking as well as your short-term problem solving.
Doing all-nighters and skipping vacations creates a counterproductive environment. Instead, embrace a slower pace and watch your hands-on results skyrocket in the process. It’s healthier for your body, too.