Why your rest time should be as important as your work.
In our ever increasing world of being busy all of the time. The concept of downtime can be seen for some people a negative space between work, sleep and doing chores. However, a book called Rest- Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang who is a consultant in Silicon Valley suggests that adding ‘deliberate rest’ into our lives is a key component in helping us becoming more creative, productive and fulfilled in life.
His book shows research that people who were highly successful in their life were able to keep going due to the fact that they took regular ‘deliberate rest’ in their life. The concept of ‘deliberate rest’ means going on long walks in nature, taking regular naps, engaging in weekends away, plus exercising and engaging in deep play or finding things to do that give you a flow. It was not about just sitting around and doing nothing or surfing the internet or watching TV. He argues that we should treat work and rest in equal parts and that active rest helps us to become creative and productive, so we need to make room in our daily calendar for rest. Therefore, whilst we schedule in work into our lives we should make equal time to schedule in what we are doing in our rest time and ensure this is planned out and acted on just like our work.
Here are some tips from the book for upping your downtime.
Only work four hours a day
The book found when examining the lives to those people who were most creative in life, it found that they only really deeply into their work for around four hours a day. That is that the four hours were spent with the deliberate practice that is the most focused work they could do. After that, they needed time to rest and restore their energy. So if you work in an office doing an eight hour day it could be that you spend at least four hours in undisturbed deep work, whilst the other four hours, doing less important work like answering emails, making phone calls etc.
Go for walks in nature
Going for a walk can help with creative thinking – the objective is to use your walk time to relax the mind or it can help to stir up our unconscious thoughts of the day. Making time for a daily walk preferable in nature can help to become more creative. So if you work indoors it might be that you plan your lunch time around a walk outside which can help to refresh. If you are working on a project plan in a thirty-minute walk to give yourself a chance to reflect on what you doing or help with new ideas.
Take regular naps
Add naps into your daily life can really help to give you brain time to relax adding mental balance renewing your energy and help to come up with new ideas. Even a short nap of around twenty minutes can give your body a chance to restore and in the long run, can help to improve your memory. For some people, you work in an office, therefore, do not have a chance to nap at your desk. However, in your lunch break, you could take yourself off to someplace quiet and just sit in a chair and completely switch off and relax for a while.
Spending time in some deep play – That is finding the time to either play a musical instrument, engage in some art, dancing or any creative pursuits that you find personally interesting. Find something that is completely different from what you do for work, that can give you flow, it can really help you to completely detach from work and help with mental and physical recovery. You could do this not just at weekends but on evenings after work; start to add things into your schedule find time for activities that are absorbing and challenging and fun.
Overall the book suggests that ensuring that you maintain ‘deliberate rest’ into your life can help to restore your energy, create calm and help you to keep a focus on the things that really matter life. So why not get started right now. What ‘deliberate rest’ are you going to schedule into your life from now on?