Four benefits of Taking a Break

After reading this blog’s title, most of us would have thought, “yeah, this is a no-brainer”. But the fact is, not many of us even realise when we are overworked, close to burnout and in desperate need of a break.

In 2011, I was overworked and struggling professionally, my personal life was dragging its feet, and I did not even realise this. Luckily for me, my friends were planning a month-long trip around South-East Asia and forced me to go with them. No matter how much I said NO!

And so I went. It was the best thing I ever did in my life (until then).

When I came back, I was almost a completely different man. I felt like I wanted to go swimming with sharks and skydiving, and within the year, I was a married man (what does that tell you?). I wanted to do something that pushed me professionally and personally, and all this happened because I went on a break I did not know I needed.

The following are four reasons why I feel it is essential to take a break from work (or school).

Mental health

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash.

No matter how much we love what we are doing, our jobs will add stress to our lives. Those lucky enough to do something you love might not even realise that some form of work stress is still always added to your lives. Then there is personal stress of managing the family, the kids, school work, etc. We have covered managing stress in a number of our previous blogs.

Taking a break from the daily grind of life can help you get away from the routine of life, giving you the time needed to reflect on your life and the choices you have made. But even if you don’t reflect on your life choices, don’t underestimate the power of relaxing your mind and letting it go blank.

Physical health

Photo by Israel Andrade on Unsplash.

Between work, family and being stuck in traffic (or since the coronavirus, being stuck at home), there is no time. Or at least that is the excuse most of us use for not exercising. Having a healthy body goes hand-in-hand with having a healthy mind. Taking a break might just help you kick start your physical system, reminding your body that it needs to be exercised.

One of the countries we went to on our break in 2011 was Cambodia, and my God, just walking around the temples in Siem Reap felt like a year’s worth of exercise. So you don’t have to go on nature walks or hiking on your break to get in your physical activity. You could get it from club hopping, swimming, or playing a game with your kids on the beach.

Take advantage of this added physical exertion and try to keep it going once you return to your routine.

Sleep

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash.

Sleep is one of the first things we compromise on when we fall behind on our routine. We always think that we can make up for the loss of sleep at a later time, but chances are bad sleep habits will be cultivated and will become regular sleep habits. Getting optimal rest at night is vital to having an efficient day. I know I am much more motivated to get to work when I have slept well and am a lot more pleasant to be around.

A break is an excellent opportunity to fix your bad sleep habits and to correct and better regulate your sleep cycle.

Productivity

Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash.

There are several studies that have shown the correlation between taking a break and an increase in productivity, from being able to sleep better and being in a better mood after vacations to a rise in productivity and less exhaustion. And this proof is necessary because you should never just take someone’s word as fact. But speaking from personal experience, I know that taking breaks improved my productivity. And the break I took in 2011 was a life-changing one for me!


So go on your break. Recharge your cells. And when to get back to your routine, challenge yourself!

If you have taken your break and are ready to challenge yourself and have been thinking about doing a master’s degree, then take a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and details on discounts we might offer.

3 simple ways to keep motivated through the day

It might just be me, but I don’t think that I have personally ever seen anyone (and I am talking about working adults only here) go through a whole workday with a positive, motivated attitude.

Well, that might not be entirely accurate. I remember my first job out of college was fun. Most of the workforce was also fresh out of college, many of whom were from my college and my friends. It was all fun, and we used to get paid for it. But time and responsibility have weight and can slow you down.

There is no avoiding responsibility; it is an integral part of life and growth. And responsibility is not a bad thing; a lot of us get motivated because of the responsibility we have.

However, several things could happen during your day that could bring down your enthusiasm and energy during the day, such as getting late for a meeting because you were stuck in traffic, getting yelled at by your manager, having a disagreement with your spouse, having to discipline your child, having the water stop halfway through a shower. The list can be endless!

So, what can you do to remain as motivated as you can during the day? Here are three simple tips you could use that might help you stay motivated right through the day.

Sleep

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

How often have you stayed up through the night and started your day crankily and performing far less than your usual efficiency? Getting optimal rest at night is vital to having an efficient day. I know I am a lot more motivated to get to work when I have slept well and am definitely a lot more pleasant to be around.

We have covered the importance of a good night’s rest in several of our blogs and have a few that we have gone into more detail on, such as 7 ways to better understand your Sleep Cycle and Are you an early riser or a night owl? Which sleep pattern is best when studying for the online master’s degree?

Reactivate your senses

Photo by petr sidorov on Unsplash

As human beings, we can react positively or negatively to what we see, hear and smell—sight, sound, and scent.

How often have you gotten distracted by something playing on the television only to realise that you delayed what you were supposed to do?

How often has your efficiency improved when working to the beat of a song? I remember driving home from my grandparent’s place (about 600 kilometres) and listening to an album with a collection of songs from different artists. I was so caught up in the music that I think it was the fastest (DO NOT SPEED, PLEASE), smoothest and most enjoyable drive I have ever had.

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

And finally, how often has something you smelled in the air taken you to your childhood and calmed you right down? The smell of cookies always takes me back to Christmas mornings as a child and fills me with happiness. It reminds me of waking up and seeing the Christmas tree.

So, when you wake up in the morning, don’t go straight to your phone. You never know what you will see there; you have no control over it. It might be a message that is just going to get you all wound up. Let the first thing you see be something that inspires you or something you love or, if you are religious, something motivational from a sacred text. And your day is already off to a bright start.

And stay away from cute cat videos on YouTube; you will never get anything done.

I have already said what music can do for you, but it also can cut down on the static noise around you that can distract and disturb you. It will help you focus your attention on what you are doing. Not everything will help you focus; some might even distract you. So, find what works for you.

Last but not least, the sense of smell. I keep a scented candle with a scent that I have come to associate with peace of mind in my room. It is not always lit, but I light it up when I feel stressed, and I know it helps me calm down quicker.

Be in the present

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

When we are working or studying, many of us are thinking of the next thing we must do. We are very seldom focused on what we are doing, resulting in not doing justice to what we must get done right now. And when we don’t do things right, we get demotivated. And then the downward spiral of your day begins. Hopefully, by activating your senses, you will be better able to focus on what you are doing, thereby finishing your tasks efficiently and staying motivated throughout the day.


We understand that the challenges of doing a master’s degree online, along with working and managing your family, can get stressful, and there might be times when you feel demotivated. Hopefully, these three tips will help you stay motivated a little longer.

What other thing did you do to stay motivated right through your day? Let us know in the comments. We would appreciate it.

If this blog has motivated you to challenge yourself and do a master’s degree, then have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and details on discounts we might be offering at this time.

5 easy steps to break free and get unstuck in your career!

Last week I talked about five reasons you feel stuck in your career. In my opinion, one spends considerable time developing their career and then working the job. And it is far from ideal if one keeps feeling stuck and unhappy in their jobs. Now, every problem has a solution. So here I present to you five easy steps to break free and get unstuck in your career:

1. Introspect, revaluate, and develop new skillsets

There is new competition and talent added to the job market every day. Fresh graduates and experienced professionals with unique skills dominate the workspace. It is but natural to feel that your skillsets have become outdated. Now is the time to do some introspection and reassess your skillsets. Start by writing down your skills, even those you use in your personal life. You may be surprised to discover that those skills you never thought could be helpful in the professional diaspora are actually useful. Also, keep learning and adding the latest qualifications to keep abreast of the competition. You can also upgrade your education to a Master’s degree by studying online with RKC.

Photo credit: Unsplash.com by Tim Mossholder

2. Move past the fear

You must come out of the shadow of fear. If talking to your supervisor about your career growth, new opportunities, or searching for new jobs instils fear of the unknown, then you are not pushing yourself and limiting your potential.

Learn to be outgoing and gather feedback from trustworthy colleagues about yourself. Make lists of pros and cons and identify the top things you fear most.

3. Evaluate your priorities

Photo credit: Unsplash.com

Money could have been your priority before. But when you have reached a point where the job does not offer any challenges and has become monotonous. Yes, we work to pay our bills. However, it might make better sense to be in a job that might pay slightly less but the one that you enjoy doing every day.

4. Better late than never

Often you might be given some promises by the management of an upcoming raise or promotion. You end up waiting for that performance review, bonus, or annual increment. Because you are comfortable and used to working in that position, you might want to wait for the decision and what’s in store for you. But instead of waiting (sometimes in vain), you should keep planning for the change and look for better opportunities.

5. Create a roadmap and manifest

Photo credit: Unsplash.com by Matt Duncan

You might be feeling stuck in your job because you don’t know what you want to do in the future. Without a goal, you might just be wasting your efforts. Try to channel your focus on what you want to do and grow your career. Invest sometime in yourself and research what areas might interest you. It might be time-consuming, but once you have a clear understanding, you will have a clear path and purpose.

I hope these five simple steps will help change your thought process and help actualise your dream career! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

5 ways to develop Self-Discipline!

Over the years, I have developed a lot of bad habits. It is not difficult to develop bad habits, and I have collected them since my university days.

I have worked hard to get rid of some of these habits and have failed more often than not, and it has been my experience that the single biggest reason for my failures has been the lack of self-discipline.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash.

So, I figured the first thing I had to do was work on my self-discipline. Of course, developing self-discipline will benefit all aspects of your life, not just helping in kicking your bad habits. I imagined my self-discipline to be that aspect of my willpower that blocked temptation from removing logic from my mind.

My thinking was simple. Why am I tempted to do something that is not beneficial to me? The answer – is because I enjoyed doing it. I had experienced that thing that tempted me many times before, and I wanted to experience it again. I needed a shield that blocked the temptation with logic and reason.

The following are five tips that I followed to help me develop my self-discipline. Hopefully, it will help you get started as well. 

1. Give yourself a purpose

Figure out why you are doing what you are doing! Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash.

The worst habit I developed during my university days was smoking cigarettes. Over the years, I tried several times to kick this habit, and I succeeded many times. Try as I might, I just could not kick the habit.

When my wife and I decided to have our first child, I decided to quit smoking, not for my health but the health of my child. And that was the purpose I needed to quit smoking finally. Every time I felt the need to smoke, I thought about my purpose and stopped myself.

Find your purpose, and it will give you the reason and strength to persevere.

2. Information to drive the purpose

Following up on the previous point, once you have your purpose, it might not be enough. For the mind to accept the purpose, there have to be reasons. So do your research on what you intend to achieve and back up your purpose with facts. For example, when I decided to quit smoking cigarettes, the purpose or reason for me to quit smoking was my child, but I also backed it up with facts on the benefits of quitting smoking cigarettes. On how smoking had a detrimental effect on not only my health but also the health of my family.

3. Make it a habit

Once you have achieved the self-discipline required to achieve your goal, you must constantly work on maintaining this self-discipline. It is very easy to lose focus once you have achieved your goals, and then you will lose all the hard work and effort you put into developing the self-discipline required to achieve your goals. And then you will have to start all over again to achieve the same goal. So, once you have reached your goal, maintain the self-discipline required. Develop it into a habit.

4. Teamwork

Teamwork works. Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash.

My wife and a group of her friends wake up very early in the morning and go for a long fast walk. They all do this six days a week (weather and health permitting). She can do this because of the strength, motivation, and competition she can get from her friends. They wear smartwatches that track the group activity and can push each other to achieve their goals. When she started, she was alone and did not have the drive to get up every day in the wee hours of the morning to go for a walk, and she used to give up constantly. But now, because of this group, it is possible.

So, don’t live on an island with a population of one, and take the support from friends, colleagues and mentors when possible.

5. Reward yourself

It is essential to acknowledge your victories, even if no one else does. So, celebrate it, pat yourself on the back and maybe even reward yourself when you achieve a milestone in developing your self-discipline.


Hopefully, these five tips will help you develop your self-discipline and achieve your goals. If you have any other tips that might help our readers improve their self-discipline, please share them here.   

If you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree, and are ready to challenge yourself, look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and details on discounts we might be offering at this time.

7 ways to better understand your Sleep Cycle

Photo by Alexander Possingham on Unsplash.

When I was growing up, sleeping was one of my favourite things to do. I used to sleep late but could just keep sleeping and wake up late. But as I grew older and with responsibility ever-increasing, sleeping late soon became a thing of the past. Unfortunately, I had gotten into the habit of sleeping late (something I still haven’t gotten over), resulting in less sleep than I liked.

Our regular readers might have noticed that we have covered “sleep” in several of our previous blogs, either on its own or as an essential part of another self-improvement blog. This is because almost every study highlights the importance of a healthy sleep cycle.

But what constitutes a healthy sleep cycle? The following are seven tips to help you identify what makes a healthy sleep cycle.

1.    There is no such thing as a “golden rule”

Do you really need eight hours of sleep? Photo by Mpho Mojapelo on Unsplash.

How often have we been advised “always to get at least 8 hours of sleep a day”? If I had a penny for every time someone told me that, I would at least have close to a pound by now. This golden rule has become so ingrained in our psyche that for most of us if we don’t get eight hours of sleep, we feel worn out the next day. The fact is, for most of us, the ideal daily requirement of sleep is between seven and nine hours, dependent on several factors such as fatigue levels, the time we go to sleep, etc.

Then there are those lucky few who, according to the National Institute of Health, have a unique gene that enables them to require only four to five hours of sleep daily for optimal and regular performance.

So, figure out what is your “golden rule”!

2.    Reduced sleep does not increase efficiency

For those of us who lead a busy life, it might seem that there are never enough hours in a day. We might try to make up for this by reducing the number of hours we get to sleep [because where else can you get the time? (I am being sarcastic here)], let’s say by reducing an hour of sleep from our ideal sleep cycle. Now, if we do this for an entire week, that is seven hours taken away from our ideal sleep cycle, and if we think this would not have an impact on us, we would be wrong. All you will achieve is increasing your fatigue levels and reducing your productivity.

3.    Bored vs Sleepy

Photo by Tony Tran on Unsplash.

Another way of identifying if you are getting adequate sleep per your ideal sleep cycle is by noticing if you are falling asleep at unexpected times during the day. Maybe in class or at a meeting, or even at the movies. If you are otherwise healthy and tend to fall asleep at unexpected times, you are not getting adequate sleep. It is not because you are lazy or bored. You can be bored as hell in a class and still be wide awake.

So, check your sleep cycle, maybe increase an hour to the cycle and see if there is an improvement.

4.    Identify your sleep cycle

No one said a sleep cycle must be continuous. Let’s say your ideal sleep cycle is 7 hours a day. If you can sleep the seven hours continuously, that is great, but if you can’t, consider breaking up the cycle, five hours at night and two hours midday. Experiment and find out what sleep cycle works for you.

5.    Older people need less sleep

False! While it is true that children and teenagers might require more sleep to cater to their growing bodies. Once you are an adult, your ideal sleep cycle will remain consistent. So, even if your sleep schedule moves around a bit during your life, your ideal sleep cycle length should stay the same.

6.    Temperature control

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash.

I hate warm and cosy! I just can’t sleep when it is warm, and I just sweat buckets. I like my room cold (the exact opposite of my wife’s); usually, the temperature in my room is set to about sixteen degrees centigrade. And this is what I need to get a comfortable night’s sleep. Find out what works for you and what will help you achieve your ideal sleep cycle.

7.    Too much sleep

Just like getting too little sleep, getting too much sleep can also be detrimental to a person’s mental and physical health. According to a study listed in the National Library of Medicine, “In the general population, sleeping too much was associated with psychiatric diseases and higher body mass index (BMI)”.

So, stick to your ideal sleep cycle and don’t think you can make up for the loss of sleep by sleeping extra a couple of days a week.


Hopefully, these seven tips will help you manage your ideal sleep cycle better, thereby improving your quality of life and improving your work-life-study balance. If you have any other tips that might help our readers manage their sleep cycle better, please share them here.   

If you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree, and are ready to challenge yourself, look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and details on discounts we might be offering at this time.

Are you feeling Stuck in Life? Here are 4 tips to help you to start getting UNSTUCK.

What do you do when you find yourself stuck? Photo by Fernando Jorge on Unsplash.

Life can get complicated. At any given point, most of us will be juggling multiple roles simultaneously – father, son, husband, student, teacher, employee, employer, manager, subordinate, the list goes on. Managing all these roles effectively and efficiently can get stressful, and there may be times when we just get stuck.

The feeling of getting stuck is, at least in my opinion, a common and recurring aspect of life. It happens to everyone, and when it happens in one aspect of life, it can easily affect other aspects of life.

For example, let’s say you are facing a challenge at work that you cannot overcome no matter how much you put your mind to finding a solution. You are STUCK. Before you know it, or rather, without even being aware of it, this will slowly start affecting other aspects of your life. Let’s say you are also doing an online master’s degree programme and have a deadline to submit an assignment, but all you can think is how you are falling behind at work, and before you know it, that mindset of being stuck at work has now spread to your student life as well. And now this feeling of being stuck has been compounded and will start affecting more aspects of your life.

Hopefully, you will be able to nip this feeling of being stuck in the bud before it starts affecting something significant (again, in my opinion) like being a father, husband and son.

Like most things in life, there are a number of ways to get UNSTUCK and again, these are habits that you have to cultivate. Here are four easy ways to help you get started:

(1) Do not label: We just love to label everything, don’t we? Especially if it is something bad. Let’s say we haven’t achieved our targets at work for a couple of months; how many times have we cribbed, cried, and complained, saying it has been a bad couple of months or saying that we are going through bad times at work. When we label something as “bad”, we tend to write it off or give up. We move on, and there is no scope for improvement or learning from the mistakes committed.

Getting stuck labelling. Photo by Victor He on Unsplash.

Conversely, when we label something as good, we set that as the benchmark and limit our potential.

No matter how low we hit or how high we peak, there is always scope for learning, growing, and improving. So, don’t label anything as good or bad!

(2) Let go of baggage: As in the above point, your baggage can be good or bad. It is never a good idea to revel in the glories of the past or wallow in the miseries of failure. If you have had success, celebrate it – but only for a day, then move on to your next assignment or challenge. If you have failed, then you have failed – analyse it, learn from it, and move on – again, only for a day. Never let your wallowing in failure outstrip your celebration of success – find a balance. If you get stuck in the past, it will be difficult to get unstuck.

(3) Always have a goal: This is probably the most cliched and overused advice given in the history of advice. There is a reason for that – it is an important point and a point that works. Regardless of whether they are short term or long term, goals give you a direction, something to aim for (a destination) and a yardstick to measure your progress. As long as you have a goal or goals to work towards, there will be very little opportunity for your mind to wander, and you get stuck in inaction and demotivation. Having goals protect you.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash.

(4) Ask for help: If you find yourself getting stuck, maybe it is time for a change in perspective. We often tend not to see what is right in front of us, what is perhaps obvious to others, and unless we ask for help, no one will know we are struggling and stuck and therefore will not point the obvious out to us. Of course, there are many different people we could ask for help – from professionals to trusted friends/family or colleagues to your neighbouring know-it-all five-year-old. You have to identify what level of help you require and have the courage to seek it out.


These points are just four simple tips to help you get started on getting unstuck, and I would appreciate it if you shared with us what worked for you in getting unstuck.

If you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree, and are ready to challenge yourself, look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and for details on discounts we might be offering at this time.