Have you noticed that we revere and applaud people who are continually busy? We pride ourselves on how little down time we have. We brag over the hours of over time we worked or how little we slept. Like being too busy to sleep or relax is something to be cheered and dark circles under your eyes are a badge of honor.
Have you ever heard someone say, If you want a task done, give it to a busy person? We say this because it’s easy to spot the people that get stuff done. They are proactive with their life. They are always in forward motion. They are intentional about not spinning their wheels or stagnating. What you don’t realize, is that the people that are the most productive are also intentional about rest. It’s part of the plan of success.
More Rest = More Productivity
While productivity is the goal, neglecting our need for rest is a big inhibitor. When you accept your need for some down time, you’ll gain strength, clarity, and focus for what you need to do next.
Resting may mean getting enough sleep at night. Or it might mean taking an afternoon nap. For some people, like me, it means having time alone. Time without expectations and drama. It might even mean a few days away.
There are four main reasons why rest is so important. If you’re someone who feels caught in the rat wheel, always running but never seeming to get anywhere, maybe you need to take a close look at this case for rest.
Fatigue is the common enemy of us all – so slow down, rest up, replenish and refill. – Jeffrey Holland
Our bodies need sleep. Period. Some of us need more sleep than others but everyone needs enough to recharge. Without enough sleep, you aren’t working at full capacity. You may still be working but your productivity and efficiency will be way down.
According to DrowsyDriving.org, fatigue can result in impaired reaction time, judgment and vision. You will have problems processing information and experience short-term memory loss. Having too little rest will cause a decrease in your performance, vigilance and your motivation. Also, you can lose control of your emotions and become moody or overly aggressive.
Without rest, you may still be moving, but it’s harder to maintain focus and keep your priorities in balance. And it gets harder to remember why you’re working so hard.
It’s important to set aside time for reflection. You might take a few minutes every day to journal. Maybe you set aside a few hours a week or a day every month to go over your progress. Some people are able to take a month long sabbatical every year to unwind, relax, and reflect.
Reflection helps you prioritize your life. When you take the time to go over the day, week, month or year, you have the ability to see what worked well and what didn’t work well. You can get a clear understanding of where your efforts were in vain and where they were the most productive. In this way, you can eliminate the unproductive habits or activities and focus your energies in the best things that will continue to give you the momentum to reach your goals.
Take a break. Remember that you are an essential human being who needs to be cared for. Not only your body, but your mind and soul too. All your running and doing and working doesn’t amount to anything if you lose sight of who you are in the process.
Gain some perspective in your life. You aren’t holding the world up. No matter what your age is, you’ve only been on the earth for a relatively few years. The world was spinning before you got here and it will continue spinning whether or not you can keep up. Do what is necessary. Do what matters. Remember where you’re going and why you’re going there. Let the rest go. You can’t do it all. But you can do what matters.
Once you’ve gained some strength, clarity, and perspective, you can reset your goals. Define what it is you want to accomplish and set in place a new plan to help you get there. The danger in not taking the time to rest is you might continue running full force down the wrong path.
There will always be something in life that will cause you to slow down. Illness is the most common problem with people who don’t rest because of the bodies basic need to recoup. And when you finally slow down and take stock of where you are, you may realize you’re far off course.
It’s better to reset your course on a regular basis than to wake up one day and find out you have to backpedal. It’s discouraging to see how much time and energy you’ve wasted running in the wrong direction and know that you’ll have to spend more time and energy to get back on track. Make a new course of action regularly, based on what you’ve learned in your times of rest.
The best six doctors anywhere and no one can deny it are sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise and diet. – Wayne Fields
Should you take a break?
Yes! And often.
Take care of your body by getting enough sleep. Clarify what is working for you and what isn’t. Focus your mind by keeping your life in perspective and remembering why you’re working so hard. Constantly revise your plans to keep you on track to reaching your goals.
How productive you are is a direct result of how rested you are.
What’s your favorite way to unwind and rest? How often do you take time to recharge? What are some things that you need to take a break from often? Share your answer in the comments.