Unlock high-level thinking, take a break | Vitamin J #4

Nina Gordon
May 14, 2020

Unlock high-level thinking with more breaks 👇

When do you have your best ideas?

On a run? In the shower? Just as you’re drifting off? Whenever you don’t have a pen?

There’s a reason for that. Your brain needs breaks to reach high-level thinking.

If you’re constantly in focus mode your brain stops registering the outside world and allowing ideas to flow.

Not taking breaks leads to decision fatigue, which in turn leads to the simplest, easiest decision being made, not always the best. Breaks = less “that’ll do” moments.

Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources and helps you become more creative. Breaks = more “Aha” moments.

And when you’re engaging in activities outside of your main focus you can discover new paths, new options and outside-the-box thinking.

TLDR;Give yourself a break.

Read on for this week’s dose of tools, tricks and tips for finding time to take impactful breaks.


Toolkit, unlocked

mindfi logo

Open your MindFi

MindFi focuses on micro-habits, not lifestyle change. Offering personalized exercises that fit busy schedules. Access a full range of science-based mindfulness content and tools, such as 1-minute meditations, digital detoxes to full programs that reduce anxiety or build leadership skills.


Create breaks for you and your team through autonomy and automations - snippets from class

Here are some best bits from our syllabus:

Delegation is only possible if your team has everything they need to complete the tasks confidently within the time constraints. Make your requests SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound.

Class: Braving trust - mastering delegation and difficult conversations

Move from controlling to empowering, the people with the best insight and decision making ability are often those closest to customers or on the frontline.

Class: Organize your team and company for the future

Decompose your projects to make them manageable. Break down one big project into sub projects and keep going until each small task is achievable.

Class: Automation tools - turn time-consuming tasks effortless

Good project management is transparent, data-driven, creates accountability and is measured on impact.

Class: How to conduct meaningful user interviews

Sign up for classes by searching their name on the app. Not a member? Start free trial today

Frame 2 (8)

The Library

What we've been reading this week:

How CEO Dan Shulman is Leading a more inclusive way forward  

Four practical steps to take your lockdown job search to the next level

Light after the lockdown- the future of fashion

The Business World Can Never Go Back to the Way Things Were

7 entrepreneurs share unique re-opening strategies


We'd love to hear how you've been using your breaks. Have you started a new hobby since lockdown started? Completed a great series on Netflix? Cooked a great meal? We're all ears, email nina.gordon@jolt.io to let us know!

Until next week, Ciao!


Want to receive Vitamin J straight into your inbox? Click here.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?

Because almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.

Charles Darwin took long walks around London. Kurt Vonnegut made listening to jazz a daily priority. Fiona Apple disappeared for 6 years after the release of her third album.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?

I ask because I can often be found agonising over the "more". If only I posted on Instagram more, I'll think in the bath. I'd have more followers if I pitched to more publications. I need to post 2 more times a week, minimum. I could go on...

Between you and me, I've got frustrated with myself for browsing Facebook or watching too much TV more times than I can remember.

And I'm not alone. So many of us are terrified of taking a break, creatively speaking. We won't let a moment pass without listening to a podcast, consuming an article or sharing something.

The cognitive load is real, y'all.

But like Vitamin D, sleep and good food, it's not only ok to take a break, it's essential.

Living a successful life is also about knowing when not to work. For your best output, you need to focus on your input, too.

The world won't end if you disappear from the internet for a week or so. Your creativity won't suddenly stop. Your time is now, but your time was also then and it will be again.

Your dreams don't have an expiration date.

Many of us confuse being "busy" with being constructive. But you can only do your best work by taking breaks.

And science backs it up, too. The brain requires substantial downtime to do its most innovative thinking. The ideas you have while driving or in the shower aren't coincidental. They're a result of you taking a step back, whether you're aware of it or not.

Here's a challenge for you

Let yourself take a wonderful and indulgent break. Several breaks. Hell, get downright bored.

Put airplane mode on for a while. Sit down. Lie down. Be still. Do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it.

Wallow in it. Don't be afraid of it. Push it as far as you can.

When you leave your laptop behind, something always happens. A new idea or a fresh perspective appears.


"A spark of inspiration needs an empty cave."

Take proper breaks, often. Completely clear your mind. Your next best idea depends on it.

Are you a keeper?

Empower your team to go and shine.