I’ve always viewed rest as a sign of weakness. “You go and rest while I work and get ahead” has always been my arrogant attitude.
To be honest, I looked down on those who would stop and rest.
You see, I’m a Type-A, hard driver who’s always moving and on the go. I’m known for my unlimited energy and ability to get things done.
Until I crashed.
The Energizer Bunny lost his energy. Not cool.
I was like a high performance car going 100 down the interstate who took an exit at 70 with a curve marked 30.
I was forced to rest. My body shut down and simply had enough.
My arrogant view of rest was humbled and I learned to truly do the hard work of rest.
Rest is defined as a cease of work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recovers strength; to refrain from using for a short time.
Easy to say, near impossible to do for high performers. (That’s a challenge for you over-achievers…)
As busy professionals, it starts with sleep, breaks, and down time.
Here are 5 Ways Busy Professionals Can Do the Hard Work of Rest:
1. Recognize Rest is the Super Power of Your Energy
The reality is to most high achievers, rest is a waste of time, a luxury they simply cannot afford. It’s an “if I get to it” response and therefore simply never happens.
So, do I need more time or more energy? Is it possible that if I prioritize energy, I’ll gain more time..?
Sleep recharges you like nothing else and allows you to regain focus, clarity, and productivity. But few maximize this super power of your energy.
2. Value a Good Night’s Sleep
It simply starts with sleep. When you’re tired, it affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Just ask those who have to deal with you!
But sadly, many people are either sleep-deprived and don’t realize it or view not sleeping as a badge of honor.
Ironically, most high performers are horrible sleepers. Their hours are inadequate and inconsistent. In fact, here are Three Decisions That Will Make or Break a Good Night of Sleep.
Sleep is restorative to both our body and mind. We guard what we value and do what we value.
Once committed, there are numerous ways to improve your night of sleep. Here are three excellent book resources:
Pro Tip: Start adding just 10 minutes to your sleep by going to bed 10 minutes earlier then again until you begin to feel rested. Begin to pay back that sleep debt you have and may not even realize how much you owe…
3. Break Up Your Day With Productive Breaks
I NEVER use to take breaks. Why slow down? Keep the gas on and get to where I need to go.
Now, I’m not talking about hanging out wasting time at the coffee area or watercolor. I’m focusing on a scheduled, productive break.
I’m also NOT talking about desktop dining for lunch. Just simply taking an actual lunch “break” may be the first and best place to start.
Pro Tip: Unplug for lunch or choose a time in the morning or afternoon (or preferably both) to take just 10 minutes to stop what you’re doing, completely unplug to rest your brain (no email or social media) and stretch your body. Move, man.
4. Sign Up for Some Downtime
I’m sorry, did I just read downtime? I didn’t even know THAT existed let alone what it was or how to implement it!
We may feel we don’t have enough time in general let alone down time.
Downtime is a period of time when one is NOT working, not available, or engaged in a planned activity.
Sadly, my only downtime in the past was when my body completely crashed and oh was I down for a time! Not the point of downtime.
Ironically, my most creative times come out of downtime. When my brain is “free to roam” and not tasked to focus, it’s a breath of fresh air that revives me in a way like nothing else.
Pro Tip: Think SMALL on the weeknights and LONG on the weekends. Who knows, your next BIG idea may suddenly appear.
5. Schedule Rest As One of Your Most Important Appointments of the Day
As the saying goes, “what gets scheduled gets done.” It’s not something you get to when you “have time.” It must be a priority.
Once you recognize the value of rest, you can no longer leave it to chance. Whether you’re forced to slow down like I was due to my Adrenal Fatigue issues or you’re pro-active in implementing rest (good for you and impressive), rest must become part of your daily rhythm.
Schedule your bedtime and arise time. Schedule your lunch break to rest the mind and move the body. Schedule one or two short breaks as an actual appointment.
Guard this time like your life or at least your energy depended on it!
Rest, if done properly, is the little invest that yields big results. The perfect formula for high performers.
Making these changes are a process. You must commit and seek to make the most of the time.
If you truly believe rest is needed and beneficial, you’ll do the hard work of rest and see the incredible benefits.
Question: What could you do today to begin the hard work of rest in your own life?