The Super Bowl is right around the corner! Professional athletes have a lot of pressure to perform during their seasons, don’t they? Have you noticed that after their intense sports season, these athletes have many months to rest and recover before they start training again?
As a non-professional athlete, you and I may not experience the same physical stress that these professional athletes experience; however, we do experience STRESS in other big ways. And, yet, most people feel that rest and recovery is a “luxury”, not something that is really necessary to maintain our level of performance.
I’m currently reading a book called The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, is The Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. Jim and Tony had worked a lot with professional athletes and discovered how important building in rest and recovery is to any busy person.
One of the concepts that I am a big supporter of is building small blocks of recovery into your day, which is something Jim and Tony subscribe to, as well. Let’s face it, if you’re really busy and you NEED to rest and recover in order to be as productive as possible, it is unlikely you can take a week off to go on vacation.
Why is rest so important? One way I like to think of this is as a car almost running out of gas. Sure, you can push to get the last drop of gas. Maybe you’ll get to your destination and maybe the car will start to make funny noises and start to sputter and/or start to not function like it normally does. Additionally, once you run out of gas, you’ll have to figure out a way to get to the gas station to get more gas and bring it back to the car (taking even more time than if you just stopped to fill up).
People function in a similar way as a car and its fuel. You can push and push and push, and at some point, You are going to start feeling drained. You may keep moving forward; however, you may start making more mistakes, forget to do things, have to re-do things, etc. until you get a much-needed opportunity to refuel and recover.
What are some easy to implement ways to build rest into your day? Here are 3 ideas:
- Schedule 10 to 20-minute breaks into your day. During at least one of these breaks, do something you really enjoy. For example, spend some time reading, playing with your favorite pet, do a puzzle, etc. Something that helps
you to completely switch gears. During the other breaks, do something physical (e.g., go for an invigorating walk) or something that will feed your mental/emotional energy (e.g., meditation). Be sure to set a timer (you have one on your phone!).
- Start and stop work on a schedule, then go enjoy the rest of the time doing non-work things. Creating these boundaries, especially when being a workaholic is rewarded in our culture, can help you to carve out time to enjoy non-work things (e.g., family, friends, hobbies), which is the perfect way to refuel!
- Before wrapping up work for the day, do a brain-dump ((find out about a brain dump in my “Keep it Simple” newsletter) and then create a written to-do list for the next day. Getting this information out on paper (or into an electronic file) will help free up your mind so you can use your brain’s energy to do other things, which will help to feel more refreshed and rested. This can also play a
key role in getting a great night’s sleep, which is also imperative to your productivity.
Rest is critical to maximizing your productivity. Figuring out different ways to refuel during the day, believe it or not, will not make you less productive. Rest will actually improve your productivity!