If you’re anything like me you might find that working sometimes comes more naturally than resting does. If you’re not, then someone on your team probably needs you to read this so you can understand them better.
In high school I was such a gifted sleeper than my friends nicknamed me “sloth”. I’d roll out of bed at the crack of noon anytime I had the chance.
But over the years the pendulum has swung to the other extreme. In my quest for equipping leaders around the world I can often forget to rest. Add to that raising three young children and living in “the city that never sleeps” and rest could easily become a luxury item.
We prize a good “work ethic” but perhaps having a good “rest ethic” is just as important in the long run.
Here are four key reasons to rest, in case you (or someone around you) needs a reminder:
Peak performance and taking care of yourself are inseparable. I start with this one because the person who works too hard generally needs a productivity benefit for changing their ways rather than just a philosophical reason.
Recent studies have shown that even during the day our mind and body continue to ebb and flow much like the circadian rhythm when we sleep. The simple truth is that you cannot output constantly at your peak performance level. In the end, the way to maximise your capacity is to give your best then rest, then do it again.
Our best ideas often come when we’re not working, or even as we wake or fall asleep. Songwriters, designers and writers alike often get to a point where the only way to get fresh ideas for a project is to take a break from it and come back to it later.
Work, break, and re-engage with new creativity. No wonder our successors can frequently see solutions that we’ve become blind to because we didn’t step back from our work often enough to regain perspective.
You are more than your job. Yet I often find people unconsciously evaluate you based on your answer to, “So, what do you do?”. Insert a 30 second important sounding bio here. I love what I do for a living. But if the day comes where my whole identity is wrapped up in my work, then I’m in trouble… and so is my family.
I need to watch for the early warning signs that busyness is becoming a badge of honour. So on a flight home this week I redrew the boundaries of my life. What do I want my weeks to look like? What changes do I need to make?
I’m no mechanic but I do know that it’s not good to run your car all the way to empty because of the junk it puts in your engine. Plus it’s harder to refuel when you don’t get to a petrol station before you run out. Your mind and body are like that. Sure, you can work until you drop, but it gets junk in your engine.
“The Hare And The Tortoise” is a children’s story but it could well be a life lesson for so many of us in business too. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, so factor in some rest and recreation so you’re still there at the finish line.
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