I'm going on break.
I believe, most Americans could benefit from more breaks. Most first world countries have mandatory vacation that is far better than the US's. Several of them are pushing towards a 35 or even 30 hour work week. But I'm not just talking about a break from work. We Americans (whatever that means... see previous post) need to practice shutting our minds off. Not distracting ourselves with TV or taking our mind off work by cleaning house, but simply unplugging for a few minutes/days.
Without these necessary breaks, our productivity slows as our stress rises. Our minds get caught in one idea; we get no fresh perspective on our problem. We just burrow through the problem like a mole; creativity dies. With breaks you don't have to think out of the box... with breaks, there is no box.
In the average US factory, and in our own lives, there is too much emphasis put on "productivity." We must realize that if we are to be truly productive there is an optimal amount of rest and breaks (resting certainly has diminishing returns).
It's not just the completion of tasks that suffers from lack of breaks, but also the ability the shift paradigms that is lost. A great example is the aftermath of 9/11. Those Americans that still believe the "War on Terror" can be won... need a break. The effects of not taking a break were very apparent about two years ago, when public approval of Congress was at an all time low. While the hoi polloi were beginning to gain composure from the terrorist attacks of 9/11/02... congress had been working tirelessly on what happened, how did it happen, how to prevent it from happening again, what else could happen, how can that be stopped... ad inifitum. They were digging through the dirt of the problem so hard, and so long, they needed to take a break (and still do)... and realize that terrorism can't be beaten by force. I appreciate their diligent work, but the point is, they need to take a bath.
I blogged on a similar topic here with a more personal bent. The cool kids may remember it.