Keeping Going

by Mark Forster

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Pathway to Awesomeness.

April 12, 2007

Here’s an old rule that I came across many years ago . . . and it still works!

The rule is, “When you take a break, always take it in the middle of a task, not at the end.”


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April 12, 2007

Here’s an old rule that I came across many years ago . . . and it still works!

The rule is, “When you take a break, always take it in the middle of a task, not at the end.”

This is exactly the opposite of the way we usually work. We work away at something until we come to a “natural break” or an end point and then stop. The problem with this is that it is often very difficult to get going again. The five-minute tea break becomes half an hour, and when we finally drag ourselves back to our desks it is with a great lack of enthusiasm. We have to make a huge effort to even pick up the next bit of paper. (If this description doesn’t ring any bells with you, then don’t bother to read the rest of this post!)

Stopping at a natural break is almost always the worst thing we can do. Why? Because our mind registers that we have finished. And once our mind registers something as finished it likes it to stay that way. Starting something new is hard work.

But if you always take your breaks in the middle of something, your mind will be raring to get going again. It has registered what you are doing as incomplete and your mind hates incompletions. And often you will find that, after the break is over and you start work again, your mind has progressed in the meantime.

When you come to the end of something it is very natural to say to yourself, “Thank goodness that’s over! Let’s take a break!” But instead, try saying, “I’ll just start the next thing first.” Very often you will find that you have finished a whole series of “next things” before you actually get around to that break!

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