If you glance at my calendar, you will see a mosaic of various colors and symbols which represent the comings and goings of my daily life. You will see meetings, travel, vacation, meetings, appointments, lunches, and even more meetings. However, you will also see that I have time blocked off for study breaks.
Over the years, I have found that if I schedule time on my calendar in which to study and learn, I am able to enjoy that time so much more and be prepared ahead of time for what I want to focus on.
If you are on the fence about blocking out study breaks on your own calendar, I would like to present a few benefits to consider:
Continuous learning is a must for 21st century leaders.
“Reinvention and relevance in the 21st century instead draw on our ability to adjust our way of thinking, learning, doing and being. Leaders must get comfortable with living in a state of continually becoming, a perpetual beta mode. Leaders that stay on top of society’s changes do so by being receptive and able to learn. In a time where the half-life of any skill is about five years, leaders bear a responsibility to renew their perspective in order to secure the relevance of their organizations.”¹
I personally tend to be a procrastinator, yet deadline driven. The accountability of being enrolled in a class, a cohort depending on me, or having a calendar alert, keeps me on the path to make sure I get it done.
You are 42% more likely to achieve a goal when you write it down.²
The higher your level of leadership, the more margin you need.
“It’s impossible to plan for everything that can go wrong, but as LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner suggests, you can plan a bucket of time to deal with the things you can’t plan for.”³
Something will always encroach on your time–whether it’s an emergency or an incredible opportunity you’d really like to say “yes” to. Having time blocked on your schedule gives you balance by providing you space and accountability to keep growing and learning–both personally and professionally. In our fast-changing world, you can become outdated overnight. However, a regular commitment to personal growth and development is one way to stay current, remain relevant, and fight the slow drift to stagnancy.
Growing, learning, and making time to care for yourself are important.
There have been times over the years that my scheduled study breaks have turned into much needed self-care days. Even though I plan vacation days into my schedule, there are times I need to take some extra time to decompress and hear from the Lord. Burnout is all too common in leadership, and I am thankful to have a trusted group of people to help remind me of the importance of rest and rejuvenation. The inertia of life can cause us to run on empty if we aren’t focused on making time to refuel.
Study breaks are designed for me to continue to learn. Sometimes, what I am learning is how to slow down and seek the voice of the Lord.
Kenneth Mikkelsen and Harold Jarche, “The Best Leaders Are Constant Learners,” Harvard Business Review, (October 2015), accessed August 16, 2017, https://hbr.org/2015/10/the-best-leaders-are-constant-learners
Mary Morrissey, “The Power of Writing Down Your Goals and Dreams,” The Huffington Post, September 14, 2016, accessed August 16, 2017,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marymorrissey/the-power-of-writing-down_b_12002348.htmlEric Ravenscraft, “Add Empty Events to Your Schedule to Deal with Unexpected Issues,” Lifehacker, July, 24, 2013, accessed August 16, 2017, http://lifehacker.com/add-empty-events-to-your-schedule-to-deal-with-unexpect-898994664