If being productive at work fills you with satisfaction, we share something in common!

When I think about productivity (which is often), my mind normally directs me to processes (e.g., time blocking, prioritizing), apps for lists and project management, and techniques (eg. value clarification, routines). These are things I associate with “gettin’ ‘er done”.

Resting or taking time off work isn’t the first thing I think about.

Sure, I contemplate it as a reward for having a productive day…but it’s not my starting place. In the past, I often thought I had to earn it in order to take rest.

Yet, rest is an essential component of working well and productively.

What do you mean by “rest”?

Rest is time when you’re not actively working. It’s both something we all know how to do and something we can get better at doing.

My favourite ways to rest include:

  • a relaxing walk or challenging hike
  • laughing (I don’t do nearly as much of this as I’d like)
  • reading a book
  • baking muffins or something else that is simple and no-fail
  • hanging out with family or friends (when the dynamics are right!)
  • journalling

and…of course…

  • sleeping.

In my world, rest is not zoning out in front of the screen for hours or scrolling through social media. I do, however, find it restful and enjoyable to watch an episode of New Girl with my spouse or Gilmore Girls with my daughter.

Aside from productivity, what are other benefits of rest?

Research has shown that rest has multiple benefits in addition to augmenting productivity. These may include:

  • boosting creativity
  • helping us think, process information, and innovate
  • being more effective
  • improving cardiovascular health and lowering blood pressure

In other words, rest improves our overall well-being.

If resting is natural, why can it be so hard to do?

When you’re prone to being super productive and driven, making time for rest can be strangely challenging–even when you know, intellectually, that rest is necessary and brings multiple benefits.

We live in a culture where rest has a bad rap. Sometimes, it’s even equated with laziness. Many of us don’t value rest as a basic biological need. Unsurprisingly, in such an environment, making time for rest can be difficult.

Rest can help us be more productive at work, but more importantly…

“When we treat rest as work’s equal partner, recognize it as a playground for the creative mind and springboard for new ideas, and see it as an activity that we can practice and improve, we elevate rest into something that can help calm our days, organize our lives, give us more time, and help us achieve more while working less. […] Rest is not idleness!!” — Alex Soojung-Kim Pang (Author of Rest: Why you get more done when you work less)

Do you de-prioritize rest in an attempt to get more done only to wind up feeling depleted and unmotivated? I help my coaching clients create daily systems that promote wellbeing and allow for loads of (work-related) productive energy! Find out more about coaching with me here.

References

How resting more can boost your productivity

In praise of deep work, full disconnectivity and deliberate rest

Rest is a right, not a reward for productivity

Photo credit: Lisa (Pexels)

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