“I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” During college that was a common phrase among my friends. It was the embodiment of our “go, go, go” mentality. After college it changed from balancing school, homework, and social activities, to balancing work, personal development, family and friends, volunteering, and more! It is so easy to fill our lives with good things and forget to rest and take a break.
Many of us don’t believe it, but rest and relaxation actually increases overall productivity. The list of issues caused by our inability to slow down is quite extensive. So here are a few tips:
Get some sleep. Laura Stack has a fantastic blog post on how getting more sleep actually increases overall productivity. If you sleep more, you will get more done! When we sleep, we allow our subconscious time to address our stresses, and we are about to better handle them in the morning. That’s why when you are facing tough issues, it’s always good to sleep on it!
Take time to reflect. Most of the self-made, successful people I have read about take time to reflect on their daily activities. A lot of them journal (such as Dale Carnegie and John C. Maxwell) as a way to reflect more effectively. Taking time to break away from technology can be very refreshing. This time allows us to really dig into our inner-self and allows us the opportunity to make strategic decisions about who we want to be and where we want to go. It’s also very effective at helping us spot obstacles before they become critical. I encourage you to take time daily to reflect.
Take a day off. I saw a great tweet on Twitter: “If you can’t get it done in six days, then you aren’t doing it right.” Regardless of your religious beliefs, I think there is something to be said for the creation story in Genesis. God made the earth in six days, and on the seventh He rested and commanded us to rest as well. If we fill our lives up day in and day out, we will eventually burn out. A day off from chores, work, and the ceaseless demands allows us the strength to take on the rest of the week.
Take a vacation. That means, disconnect from work! This is a big problem because technology makes checking in at work so accessible. Additionally, there is a generational shift; millennials are melding work and home lives into one. Nevertheless, we need to be allowed to cut the ties at work and take a break. I would propose that most of us have difficulty doing this either because we think we are so important that work can’t live without us, or we have done a poor job training other leaders within our organization that can manage things while we are gone. Whether you are a CEO or are self-employed, there really isn’t anything that can’t wait a few days for you to take a break. If we are honest with ourselves, we can admit most of us are not in industries where decisions happen overnight and are irreversible.
Increase your effectiveness, and help out your long-term growth and development. Take a break, enjoy life. What’s the point of being successful if you can’t enjoy the best parts of life (which, in case you didn’t know, don’t happen at work)?