5 Ingredients to Maximize Your Rest

Ove-Kennith Nilson, GTD Summit

Have you ever thought through your philosophy of rest?  Is rest something to be achieved after the work is done or equally as important as the work itself?  Are you intentional about deciding how to rest? These are some of the thoughts that have been swirling through my head in the aftermath of the GTD Summit.  I mentioned in a previous post that one of the quotes that hit me hard during the Summit was:

Working smarter doesn’t mean we have to do more stuff.  We can also use it to create more space

Ove-Kennith Nilson
Tony Crabbe, GTD Summit

Or put another way: Being more productive is not about getting more done, but rather about getting your work done efficiently to create space for rest, relationships, and creativity.

While I’ve studied productivity methodologies for most of my life, I can honestly I never thought through the importance of rest in my life.  I’m a Type A individual, and I realized that I am often guilty about using rest as a reward rather than balancing work with rest to ensure that I am recharged and able to bring my best to whatever I am doing.  I loved how Tony Crabbe put it during the Summit:

In the digital world, there are zeros and ones. The zeros are just as important as the one’s.

Tony Crabb

Dan Pink also shared that:

Research shows that breaks are part of our performance, not a deviation from our performance.

Dan Pink
Mark Tigchelaar, GTD Summit

Mark Tigchelaar framed this conversation in a different light. In his talk, he shared about the two types of attention: Focused attention and Open attention.  Focused attention is when we’re “on” or in performance or analytical mode while open attention is when we allow our mind to wander off and truly rest.  The key here is to not take any new information in (Facebook and Instagram do not count as a true break because we are still consuming information rather than allowing our brains to process).

But what are the key ingredients for a break?  Dan Pink shared a few tips.

  1. Something is better than nothing
  2. Social is better than solo (this is true, even for introverts!)
  3. Moving is better than stationary
  4. Fully detached is better than semi-detached
  5. Outside is better than inside

I’ve started to be more intentional about taking breaks throughout the day and more mindful of how I take them.  While I’m still working on building this into a habit (more on that to come in a future post), I’m already seeing the impact as I’m not as burned out when I get home.

Do you have any tips for maximizing your breaks?  Leave a comment below to help others.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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