Have you noticed that we often wear our busyness like a badge of honor? How often do you hear “I’m so busy” when you ask someone how they are doing? Being continually busy, without building in time for rest, actually reduces our productivity over time. However, the need for rest and recovery is often seen as a sign of weakness rather than integral to peak performance.
In The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, it’s suggested that we work best in a series of sprints where we fully engage for a period of time and then fully disengage. The length of these sprints and recovery periods will vary from person to person, and the recovery periods can come in many forms. We need short-term periods of recovery approximately every 90-120 minutes throughout the day. We also need longer-term periods of recovery in which we can truly unplug.
Over the past several months, I’ve been attempting to build more rest into my schedule. Here are some ideas I’ve tried or found interesting:
- Walk around the office and ask co-workers what they are working on. Better yet, talk about their interests outside of work.
- Read a book or magazine instead of scrolling through email or social media while waiting for an appointment.
- Schedule breaks during long meetings and don’t discuss business.
- Walk outside to get to meetings in other buildings.
- Try a 5-minute guided meditation. There are a number of great websites and apps that step you through the exercise to refocus your energy.
- Take a lunch break away from your desk.
- Set aside several hours each week, or even a full day on the weekend, in which you will not check emails.
As we start a new year, I encourage you to prioritize rest. Set an example for your team, your family, and your friends. Turn off email notifications on your phone for a period of time. Read a book. Have coffee with a friend. Taking the time to rest may be one of the most important things you do to kick off the new year and enjoy a productive 2020.
Catherine Bloom, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer