3 Signs When to Stop Working & Take a Break
Take a Break

3 Signs When to Stop Working & Take a Break


I have recently realized that while constantly being busy often seems like the best way to progress at work, it’s actually not! There is a thin line between the being productive/busy stage and the “freaking out” stage. Unless you want to become a perpetually overwhelmed freak, be aware of what stage you are at and retake control of your schedule.

These are the three stages of your productivity:

1. Busy and Productive Stage – You are working hard and running around, but things are still under control. You feel in the FLOW and you are “present” in the “now,” which is a very good thing. This stage makes you extremely productive and efficient. You may be feeling hyper or tuned in to everything you are doing.

2. Warning Stage – Anxiety is slowly beginning to creep into your enthusiasm. This stage is rather sneaky and subtle. You may not realize how fast you are transitioning into this stage from stage 1. Suddenly, you realize that you are feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable. You may start feeling some serious anxiety very rapidly. Pay Attention! This is the WARNING stage, so all you have to do when you reach this stage is STOP WORKING! You should go for a walk, take a yoga class, or meditate for at least 10-15 minutes. You would be surprised at how fast that building anxiety starts fading away. I know it can be the hardest thing to leave everything behind and drag your exhausted mind and body to meditate in a park, but give it a shot. Try it out! I guarantee that you will be surprised how well it works!

3. Freaking Out Stage – This stage is the post-warning stage, which is where you end up in case you didn’t listen to your body’s clear signals and my advice in the section above. The “Freaking Out Stage” means that you are completely overwhelmed with your work and you feel entirely lost. You can’t concentrate and nothing is getting done because your mind is running in a million directions and all you want to do is curl up and cry…The good news is that you are not lost. All you have to do is realize that you are in stage 3, which means three things for you: a) you are overwhelmed, b) stop analyzing why you feel this way, and c) get up and start meditating or go for walk. Do whatever relaxes you and you can get back down to the healthy Stage 1 level of productivity in no time!

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  1. Luke Ciciliano

    5 years ago

    Good article Marieta – Way too many lawyers see the stress points at #3 as something they just have to “work through” which leads to the high problems of depression in the profession. When I was in practice I was certainly guilty of working past points where I should have just stopped. Working past the point of stress, however, hinders one’s productivity so badly that it’s actually more productive, in my opinion, to simply stop and reset for the next day.

    • Marieta Oslanec

      5 years ago

      Absolutely. There is a way to work less and accomplish more. Lawyers and other service providers must be open to this possibility and listen to the intuitive feeling and body signals. When you are tired, you are simply tired. All you have to do is to honor the feelings and take a break.


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