Invest in Rest


A couple of months ago I read an article on Michael Hyatt’s blog about how we our society values achievement but completely undervalues rest. I’ve been thinking about that a lot since then. I think it’s true. As many of us lucky ones return from our annual vacations it’s probably a good time to reflect upon that. Do you invest sufficiently in rest-time or are do you think your too important, too busy or simply too awesome to do so?

I get a lot of inspiration from nature – my garden tells me most of what I need to know about living in a better balance. If we keep planting the same crops in the same soil without giving it some rest, variety and nourishment it will eventually yield very little. We humans work in the same way. Holidays provide us with the potential for that renewal, and its important to seize that opportunity.

But we need to invest in rest every day, not just for 2 weeks of the year. Here are a few simple things to try to build a little more margin into your life:

  • Go to bed earlier. While we may be able to survive on very little sleep for a while, eventually are reserves are (literally) exhausted. Its healing and restorative powers are huge – so it’s odd that so many of us attempt to minimise it.
  • Disconnect. We’re becoming a slave to the omnichannel 24/7 digital world. Get real – it will survive without us for a while. Get into the discipline of no screens for at least an hour before bedtime. I’m also a strong believer in leaving the smartphone downstairs at night. Do you really want your phone to be the last thing you say goodnight to and the first thing you say good morning to?
  • When at home, BE at home. I work from a home office in the garage. However when I finish my workday I try really hard (not always successfully) to leave it behind and not be working through the evening. When I used to have a regular commute up to time, I would use a trigger point on my way home (Winchester Station in my case) to switch my brain from work mode to home mode.
  • Put less on your todo list. I try to capture everything that I intend to do in my task management system. However at the end of each day I prioritise what 3 or 4 things (only) that I will strive to accomplish tomorrow. I try to do this at the end of every work day (means your subconscious works on it overnight for you anyway, and saves time the following morning). By trying to have a discipline of putting fewer things on the list I give myself a chance of having a successful day. If you prioritise 30 things on today’s list you’re already doomed to failure. Remember – the word priority didn’t have a plural until the early 20th century!

Now your back at work, why don’t you make a commitment to invest more intentionally in rest – regularly.

(This post originally appeared on Linkedin Pulse)

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