Is Your Work Grind Killing You? Use This 3 Step Plan to Recharge

Work Grind Killing You? Use This 3-Step Plan to Recharge

(Image: iStock/AndreyPopov)

Robots have a growing footprint in nearly every industry. In manufacturing, when a robot malfunctions, production comes to a halt. In some cases, the down time could cost a manufacturer as much as $20,000 per minute. Because of this cost, robotics is moving toward machines with zero down time (ZDT). In robotics, ZDT makes sense.

Some humans try to operate on ZDT, but we are not designed for that, and there is a heavy price to pay. In Japan, they have a word for human ZDT. It’s called “karoshi,” which means “death by overwork.” Karoshi is characterized by fatal strokes, heart attacks, or even suicide.

At age 24, Matsuri Takahashi was working 100 hours a week for a prominent advertising agency. Some days, she barely slept, and she rarely took time off. On Christmas Day last year, she leapt from her company dormitory to her death. Matsuri Takahashi paid the price of ZDT with her life.

That Never Happens to Americans… Right?


Wrong! According to the International Labor Organization, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.”

Are you operating on ZDT? What’s your crazy grind costing you?

Grinding With No Days Off Can Cost You Your Ability to Execute


Over time, foregoing relaxation for work can lead to a lack of energy and focus. You can be super passionate and excited about your work, but without energy and focus, say goodbye to execution. Your grind becomes counterproductive, and your dreams begin to feel out of reach.

Now, let’s move along and learn about the benefits of relaxation.

Ahhhh… It’s So Good to Relax


Relaxation helps to relieve stress, anxiety, improves your mood, and alleviates pain. Relaxation also boosts your immune system, combats fatigue, and helps to regulate your cardiovascular system.

Now that you know the benefits of relaxation, let’s take a look at the three-step recharging plan, which will keep you energized and focused throughout the year:

  • Step 1: Schedule in Down Time
    Open up your calendar and block off days around major holidays. Next, schedule events, such as workshops, classes, and so on, for 2016 and 2017. Additionally, plan for one to two days off after these dates to rest. Do this, and even during the busiest periods of the year, you will have time to recover.
  • Step 2: Share Down Time Plans With People Who Need to Know
    Set calendar alerts two to three weeks ahead of your time off. The alerts remind you to communicate upcoming time away via, email, text, calendar sharing, etc. Place everyone who needs to know on notice.
  • Step 3: When the Time Comes to Go Away…Go Away
    Put yourself first and say “YES” to down time. Get into the habit of saying “NO” to cutting your time away short.

You Might Be Thinking, “I Don’t Need to Plan. I’ll Take Time Off When I Need To”


You probably won’t. Data shows that 55% of Americans workers don’t take all of their paid time off. In early 2016, my mentor, Sean D’Souza, advised me to plan out my down time, before scheduling work and events. I didn’t. I ended up not taking needed breaks, cutting into vacation time for work, and experiencing frequent burn-outs–lesson learned.

As a career professional or entrepreneur, when operating on zero down time, your work grind can actually kill you. My wish for you is that you will plan and schedule in periods of relaxation for your life. Use the three-step plan to recharge and stay energized and focused, in order to realize your dreams. You’re worth it!