We live in a work culture where we’re always expected to be on.
Whether it’s answering emails after hours or thinking through a particularly complex project. Often this comes in as a serious impairment to our resting and sleeping hours.
Yet, you’ll find if you’re pushing yourself to complete too many hours per day, your brain will inevitably push back.
While it’s common knowledge that a healthy amount of rest directly translates to increased productivity, creativity and happiness, knowing this and creating healthy business habits to support this are two very different ends of the spectrum.
If you think you don’t need to rest in order to be your most effective self, then this is your wake-up call.
While it’s recommended to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep, rest is more than proper nightly shut-eye.
It involves any moment during the day where you can ‘switch off’ and allow your brain to relax. For some, this involves binging a season of their favourite show on Netflix. For others, it could be from intense workouts or a relaxing walk through the park. Traditionally, these are habits which we’ve cultivated after work hours.
In other cultures, we see rest become a socially accepted part of the workday. Like siestas in Spain, or inemuri (naps at work) in Japan.
Whichever form it takes, there is a direct correlation between more rest and better work.
High Performance & Mental Fitness Coach, Kate McKenna, of Wellboard points out, our best ideas hit us during the times we’ve switched off. Like when you’re in the shower, walking home from the train station or being awoken in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea you’ll never remember in the morning. These ‘ a-ha’ moments are a product of resting, or when we’ve taken our minds off the task at hand and allowed our brains to become receptive to ideas or solutions we may not have thought of when we were honed in during our day. They’re essential to our business productivity and performance.
Over-worked, sleep-deprived and under-rested workforces have led to some of the most notorious disasters of the last century. The Chernobyl nuclear explosion, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle all can be pinpointed to human error due to mental fatigue.
While your job may not involve averting global disasters, we are in the middle of a global pandemic. We are all being tested in many different ways, some of us fighting to keep our businesses and our jobs. Having the discipline to rest and reset in this environment is more important than ever.
Better rest will help you...
While sounding counter intuitive, stepping away from your desk will actually help with focus and energy. At minimum, a 20-minute break in the day for lunch can go a long way for how effective you’ll be in the afternoon.
Taking a break, like going for a walk, could help your brain trigger those ‘a-ha’ moments mentioned earlier. Allocating time for your mind to rest will go a long way in providing you with a fresh perspective on the challenges you’re facing.
No matter if you’re a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or a small online business, you need time to recharge and reduce your stress levels in order to continue having an impact at work. Take time for yourself to engage in activities you deem restful. This will stop stress from building up and help to protect your mental and physical health.
To ensure you’re getting into a good habit of making time to rest, Kate McKenna insists saying “No” more often will give you the extra time you need for yourself. Sometimes this means saying it to yourself too. While it can seem hard to walk away from unfinished projects or leave emails unanswered, it will help you be a better worker and leader in the long run.