Increase Productivity with Rest
For some of us, it may feel indulgent (or impossible) to simply relax. However, we surely don’t judge mother nature for a winter of slumber before a springtime season of growth, so why do we judge ourselves for our own downtime? If it’s the feeling of success that we’re after, we can actually increase productivity with rest.
Rest is something we all know we need. Honoring our basic physical requirements by taking some time off is imperative not only for optimal health but for greater efficiency in all that we choose to do.
Rest, then Rise. Why do we feel so guilty about it?
Psychologists and wellness experts agree that when we feel like there’s no time to rest—that’s when we actually need it most. Throughout the ages, humans have understood that rest is fundamental to success, health, and happiness. And traditionally, many have “rested on the seventh day” – thanks to the religious practice of a weekly day off observed by millions around the globe.
But over the last few decades, more and more people are canceling that day of rest to get in more hours on projects or devoted to their bosses and teams (particularly in the Western world). The omnipresent quest for productivity has driven many of us to give up on having consistent rest days altogether. This practice is prevalent in America, which is the only advanced economy that doesn’t require a vacation. And counterintuitive as it may be, the secret to higher general efficiency throughout your day lies in working less and resting more.
Regardless of whatever your life’s work entails, we can all expect to increase productivity with rest.
Give your brain a fighting chance
Downtime is one of the most essential ingredients for continued workplace success. Our brain is one amazing muscle, and with overuse, it will become fatigued. Our mind needs deep rest and recovery to boost motivation, learn new things, make memories, and of course, process new information. This scenario is often described as “burnout,” which also affects our ability to concentrate. By lacking this basic functionality, efficiency is non-existent. In other words, with real rest, our brain is at its best!
Why we will increase productivity with rest
Getting more done in less time is possible when rest is deemed non-negotiable. Studies consistently prove that taking time off from work actually allows you to work more efficiently when you do get back in the groove. One particular study showed that people who were asked to take off one day a week reported increased productivity and a deeper, ongoing sense of accomplishment. The worst thing we can do to “feel more productive” is to increase our working hours or skip scheduled time off. It dramatically impairs our productivity, triggering potential feelings of incompetence or inadequacy.
Choosing to implement basic rest patterns as a strict part of our routine may be the essential ingredient needed to experience more of the abundant life we’re in search of.
Making the right decisions requires clarity
Regularly taking short breaks, combined with weekly days off, is what your brain needs to repair and replenish itself. When our brains are overworked and fatigued, we experience a major decline in the performance of our mental faculties. This leads to bad moods, the inability to concentrate, and poor choices. Failing to initiate goal setting (while making poor decisions because we’re exhausted) will surely set us up to fail.
Too much time working without a break can fatigue your brain, reduce your ability to concentrate, put you in a bad mood, and generally put a damper on your emotional capacity. The result is a general depreciation of mental faculties that makes it increasingly difficult to take necessary actions towards your ideal future. Making a conscious decision to rest is always a good idea!
Uplevel your creativity
Since both learning and memory depend on sleep and proper rest, this may explain why some of the most exceptionally creative humans implement a regular routine. They understand that balancing intense periods of focus with consistent breaks and a lengthy period of relaxation is the best way to increase productivity.
Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson of Florida State University has studied the processes of people who achieve the highest levels of expertise. He concluded that a majority of them engage in deliberately scheduled “practice,” pushing beyond mental limits and distractions for short bursts of time, followed by adequate rest. This is yet another example of how we can expect to increase productivity with rest.
“Unless the daily levels of practice are restricted, [and rest is prioritized] to restore their equilibrium,” Ericsson explained, “individuals often encounter […] incapacitating ‘burnout.’”
“Life can feel so much more joyous than a big long journey of burnout—it’s up to you to take back control.“ —Brendon Burchard
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