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Working harder, longer, faster gets the best results, right? Well, maybe not. After all, there’s a reason for the old saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” With increasing numbers of business owners and entrepreneurs reporting exhaustion, burnout, and crippling anxiety, people are beginning to think that there must be a better way. Turns out, there is. Being busy and being productive are two entirely different things. Being busy implies that you are filling the hours of the day with work. Being productive means that the work you’re doing has an impact. And to be productive, you must be well-rested.
A recent study compared the effects of sleep deprivation to those of drunk driving. Yikes. A good night’s sleep, or even a quick power nap, could be key to thinking clearly and efficiently at work.
But rest isn’t all about sleeping. Restorative activities like hiking, walking, biking, and yoga are all incredible forms of rest. And if you can go outside to exercise, then that’s even better. Business owners spend far too much time indoors staring at their computer screens. Wide open skies, fresh air, and nature can do wonders for recharging your brain and body. Just be sure to bring along your phone or a small pad of paper and a pen – you’ll be amazed at how some of your best ideas will emerge when you’re moving your body and giving your brain a rest.
Built into every workday should be time to sit quietly and reflect, read, strategize, etc. Close your laptop, turn off your phone’s ringer, put a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your office door, and give your mind the time and space to reflect. Does this sound like a waste of precious time? Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Tim Ferriss sometimes take a full week of their time to reflect quietly.
Does all this sound impossible? Would you like to try doing less and resting more, but you can’t conceive of how to begin? Start small. Take small breaks throughout your day and set alarms on your phone so that you’re sure to stop what you’re doing to take a break. Can’t go for a long walk outside? Take a stroll around your office. Have coffee with a friend or colleague and don’t talk about work. Do an online search for ‘desk yoga’ or ‘stretches you can do in the office’ and incorporate these movements into your day. As you get comfortable with smaller breaks and see the positive change happening in your body and mind, you will naturally begin to look for other ways to include more rest in your day.
Not convinced? We highly recommend the book “Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less” by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. The book is well researched and written, and it gives examples of how some of the greatest minds and most accomplished people of our time and in history embraced resting.
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