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Strategic Disengagement: Are You Starved for a Break?

Are you starved for a break? Needing a moment to catch your breath? Or an extended moment, say, a week- to just go off the grid and reset?

In the first poll in the Effective EDGE course, we ask our learners, “what are you doing or not doing to get it all done?” Every time, the results are the same. Not taking a break in the day- check! Not taking a vacation- check! Working evenings- check! Working longer hours in the day- check! If you’re nodding, thinking, “of course, that’s just the nature of my gig!” – I’d like to ask you a personal question. How are you really feeling over there?

A variety of studies show that those who take vacations tend to be better performers and healthier overall. Have you ever come back from a few days off and found yourself saying something to the tune of, “I didn’t even know how bad I needed that!” Or experienced the noticeable difference in your energy and focus in an afternoon, after taking an actual lunch break?

The challenge is not where to go or what to do on a break (that’s the fun part), the challenge is pushing past the beliefs and assumptions we hold about taking breaks.

They might sound like:

There’s no time!
You’re right. There IS no time if you don’t MAKE the time! A half an hour to step away from the screen and eat, or a week with nothing going on, will never land in your lap… you have to make that happen!

Have you seen my calendar?
Um, you’re calling that YOUR calendar? Sorry, it sure looks like someone else’s calendar in your Outlook account. No time on your calendar might be the clearest evidence of all that it’s time for you to call a time out. By the way, see the first bullet above… yes, again. You need to hear it!

With my role, I simply can’t step away.
Darn. You got me there. Your role can’t leave or breakaway… ok then, just work until you retire, die or change roles. Kidding! But come on, is there really, truly, NO option? Sure, it may not be an easy solution, but shoot, you’ve solved harder problems than this! Maybe it’s time to revisit your key priorities by checking back in with your Best Year Yet plan or recommitting to your EDGE weekly recharge. Sometimes we need to simply ask for what we need, block the time for those breaks, or engage in uncomfortable conversations to renegotiate our commitments.

Once I get through this project/this quarter/onboarding this new member on the team, then I’ll think about taking time off.
Sorry, but don’t you think there’s a high probability by the time that thing ends, there will be another one lined up to take its’ place? What’s the worst-case scenario if you took time to eat a meal or take a couple of random days off? Probably not so bad when you play it all out, right? So come on, think through how you can bring that work to a temporary pause, and hop to it!

Alright, you hard-working friend… Your turn. Is it a single break in your workday that could make a difference? Maybe a few days off the grid with nature? Make the next best step towards declaring that period for you as a moment of true disengagement and get ready for the ripple effect of renewal that is sure to come.

Author – Jennifer Bried


About InteraWorks

InteraWorks is a global learning company on a mission to elevate the human experience at work. Specializing in professional development and performance enablement, we offer top-rated learning programs based on four defined conditions that must exist for individuals, teams including Effective Edge, Best Year Yet, and the Essentials series. Our integrated learning framework and online tools generate immediate and sustainable breakthroughs in performance. Through decades of working at all levels in enterprise companies across many industries, we’ve built a reputation for helping people and organizations harness their focus, mindset, talent, and energy to produce results that matter most. 


We’ve defined four conditions that must exist for an individual, team, or organization to be effective within the arena of performance and development; Accountability, Focus, Alignment, and Integrity. We’ll continue to explore these and more in our blog and look forward to your engagement and interaction with us. Stay tuned as we engage the edges.