Like most people, I’m sure you think about how to work better, to improve your productivity, on a regular basis?  Yet how often do you think about rest, and the part it can play in helping you be more productive at work?

I’ve just finished reading a book called “Rest (Why you get more done when you work less)” by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. And this has confirmed what I already know and have been experiencing more and more myself in recent years....

That ‘overwork’ is the new normal.  And that for many, ‘resting’ simply means hours on social media or watching TV.  It’s not ‘deliberate rest’.

Deliberate rest both relaxes and energises. 

It improves your ability to do meaningful work, rather than simply being a means of escaping work.  It’s not the absence of work. Thinking this way means that we don’t take rest seriously, or we avoid it altogether...I’m imagining those of you who simply don’t take days off, struggle to fit in holidays, and even when you do, you don’t switch off completely.  (You know who you are!) 

In fact rest works best when it’s an equal partner to work.  Because it complements and improves our work when we rest well.  

We all know we’re more creative after a walk in the fresh air, a shower, or doing something completely different that’s physical and takes focus too (deep play in Pang’s book).  Yet how often do we make time for that? How often do we tell ourselves that we’re too busy to take a break, or finish early?

Making rest important really is a different way of thinking about productivity. About how to achieve more.

Yet when we do, when we take the right rest and make it fulfilling, it makes our lives richer, and our days and years more fulfilling.

Think of Churchill’s daily naps or baths. Bill Gates spending a week alone every year in a cabin.  These are choices made because these men recognise the benefits.

What can you choose?

  • Make an earlier start to your day to earn time to nap later?
  • Schedule a daily walk in your diary?
  • Keep free time some evenings or weekends for a hobby or exercise?
  • Arrange your financial and business affairs so you can take a sabbatical?

When you make choices like these, rest goes from being a left-over, plugging the increasingly small gap between work and sleep, to something that you claim for yourself.  Something that has meaning and purpose. And because of this it becomes more tangible, leading us to pay more attention to it and value it more.

Taking rest seriously definitely brings more of my life into clearer focus.  Which is why I encourage my clients to take it seriously too. It’s not just about feeling good in the moment, there’s real science behind this (you’ll need to read the book!) 

It helps with concentration, creativity, curiosity, focus, and a feeling of calmness and peace of mind.  Counter-intuitively, it also gives you more time (rather than taking it away), as you get better at setting boundaries and clearer about saying no to the non-important stuff, and yes to the things that matter most to you.  

Rest also deepens your emotional reserves, increasing your resilience.  

So rest is definitely important when thinking about how to improve your productivity.  It’s not idleness or laziness. It’s a playground for your creative mind. And a springboard to so much more!

So how can you improve your productivity through deliberate rest?

If you'd like my help with this, check out my current programmes and services.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay