Its OK to Take a Break!

Article - August 19, 2011

Sweet Hiatus

After every major project, I like to take some time to recharge the batteries. Even if I don’t feel like I necessarily need it, I force myself to take a 3-4 day hiatus from the shop. During that time, I read comics, watch movies, play video games, and run around the backyard making the dogs chase me. This is my life. But I find that after a forced break, I begin having trouble focusing on anything BUT the shop. I have a thirst that only sawdust and varnish can quench! But before immediately jumping into a furniture project, I usually do something to improve the shop space. After all, there’s ALWAYS SOMETHING that can be improved. This not only buys me more time to get those creative juices flowing, but it also helps me get more organized. And maybe I’m weird, but for me there is no greater hindrance to creativity than disorganization.

Hobby-Fading

Now I know most of you are hobbyists or semi-pros, and some of you may be suffering from what I call, “hobby-fading”. Your heart tells you that you need a break from woodworking, but your brain is afraid that a break is a sign that you’re losing your passion for the craft. Well frankly, that’s just nonsense and I’m here to tell you, its OK to take a break! Go enjoy some of your other interests: reading, gardening, golfing, or whatever else you find fun. The shop will be there when you come back, just as dirty as it was when you left it. And when you do come back, start out with a simple shop improvement project: a clamp rack, a sandpaper organizer, a push stick, or a rack to hold rolls of tape. Anything that doesn’t require much creativity will do the trick. These projects will help you get back in the game and get those creative neurons firing off. Once you feel that spark come back, dive into the next project. If you adopt this habit of taking breaks (even if you don’t feel like you need one), you are setting yourself up for a life-long love affair with this craft of woodworking.

I’m curious how you folks deal with this. Have you found breaks useful? I’m actually really curious to know what you all do in your off time.