GeneralHr Library

Want to be as successful as the man who finally broke the 4-minute mile? Take a vacation.

Source |Linkedin .com  |  BY:Brad Stulberg, Writer

Summer is here, which, for many people, means a time to take vacations. At the very least, there’s Independence Day and Labor Day. Our resounding advice to you: take your days off off. Though it can be hard — even agonizing — to completely disconnect from work, doing so is as powerful of a performance enhancer as any. Taking time off may reduce the quantity of your work, but it absolutely increases the quality — bolstering creativity and promoting sustainable success.

Reflect on the times when you are most creative. What are you doing when the answers to tough problems you’ve been grappling with suddenly pop into your head? Odds are, you aren’t trying to solve them. It’s more likely that you’re zoning out in the shower. If so, you’d be in the company of Woody Allen. Allen relies on the shower for creative spark. He says whenever he is at an impasse, “What will help me is to go upstairs and take a shower . . . So I’ll take off some of my clothes and make myself an English muffin or something and try to give myself a little chill so I want to get in the shower.” When it comes to generating creative thoughts in the shower, Allen isn’t alone, as evidenced by an entire industry of waterproof whiteboards and notebooks.

If not in the shower, maybe your best ideas come to you when you are on a run or a walk. Many esteemed philosophers, from Kierkegaard to Thoreau, held their daily walk as something sacred, the key to generating new ideas. “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow,” Thoreau famously penned in his journal.

Or perhaps your epiphany comes when you wake up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, or when you first emerge from a nap. The best inventors often sleep with a notebook on their nightstands. Thomas Edison was an enthusiastic proponent of power naps. Not because they helped him catch up on sleep, but because he’d awake from them with new ideas.


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