When to Rest, When to Work – Don’t Be Afraid of Breaks

July 12, 2011
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We all know we must put our best into our work, not only for the boss’s sake but also for our own pride in workmanship.  To most of us, if it isn’t done right, it’s not worth doing.  There are times that we get to a point where we try to do everything ourselves instead of trusting our coworkers to do as good of a job as we do.  It is at that point that we decide to skip our breaks and eat our lunch “on the run,” working as we gulp down a sandwich.  However, that is the fast track to work burnout.

Although it is not required by law in New Jersey, most employers allow their workers over the age of 18 to take two fifteen minute breaks and one half-hour lunch period during the typical eight-hour work day.  Most often, the lunch period is unpaid time.  Some employees choose to skip the fifteen minute breaks and add the time to their lunch period, giving them a longer stretch in which eat and rest.  The point here is that part of that time is your own time, not the boss’s time.

Your employer will define the guidelines on breaks during the work day, and let you know when they are allowed.  With some types of employment, breaks at specific times are not always feasible.  But if your employer does allow breaks, it is advisable to take them when able.  With most employers, the smaller breaks are paid time.  So if your employer is paying you to take your breaks, why wouldn’t you?  Not only does it break up your day a little, but it allows you the time to gather your thoughts, rest some weary muscles or chat with your coworkers.

After rejuvenating yourself with a break, you are better able to concentrate on your work, making you a more productive employee.  Taking your breaks also prevents the worker burnout that often happens when you are working too much, since you are not giving your body and your mind a chance to regroup.  If you work on a physically demanding job, it is important to allow muscles to relax a bit in order to prevent injury.  If you work on a computer all day, breaks allow you to stretch and move about in order to keep muscle tone and prevent eye strain, neck strain or back pain.  No matter what your work entails, remember to give yourself a break.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @CarnegieJersey.

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