As I sit down to share some thoughts on how you can help boost your personal productivity, the last thing you would expect to read is… Do Less. Culture and technology continue to show us, and push us, to do that little bit more, fit in one more report, check our emails one more time or just work longer – suggesting you will “achieve” more. But we were not designed this way, and when we take the time to slow down and rest we will actually find that we were created for both work and rest, and when we partner these together we will find that we can actually get more of the right things done, and be more effective in our work.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Matt 11:28-30
“Come to me, and learn from me” – the words of Jesus, the master of walking off to a solitary place just when things start ramping up. It takes a lot of trust to walk away, to know that someone else is ultimately in control, and that without you a few things might go astray – but God’s ultimate plan will stay on course. Trust that your other team members can handle it, and may get the credit for your hard work, or trust that the task or project won’t fall apart overnight. When the world is screaming “work a little harder”, trusting that rest is the answer can be very difficult. Here are a few ways you can rest knowing it really is a productivity boost!
I mean literally get up and walk, preferably outdoors. There have been some great studies done on the effectiveness of walking, not only on our physical health, but on what it allows our brains to do. When you are stuck or slowing down, instead of pushing a little more, STOP, get up and go for a walk. It allows your conscious mind to focus on something else, which may feel unproductive, but how often have you had a new idea or an answer to a problem when you weren’t focused on it. Nature and green space are especially known to help calm our minds while our subconscious keeps working on solving that problem. So try it today, when you get that feeling to just push through, instead go outside and take a walk.
We all know it, get 7-8 hours sleep a night, yet those evening hours are so easy to fill with a touch more work, an episode of Netflix, or the house work we didn’t manage to fit into our day. So what is our lack of sleep really costing us if it means we can “fit more in”? Sleep-deprived people take 14% longer to complete a task and make 20% more errors. We are also much quicker to snap at others and more likely to read the emotional cues of others in a negative light. Studies and books on the benefits of sleep keep pouring in, so tonight switch off the tv, turn off your laptop (it really does have an ‘off’ button) and try get to bed a little earlier, your brain and your productivity will thank you.
Laughter really can be the best medicine. Find space in your calendar for the things that bring you joy. It’s in this deep rest that we are renewed and come back to our work with a new sense of purpose and energy. It’s easy to cancel on a friend when we worked late every night that week, or say no to just playing with our kids, or in my case my nephews. We are built for community, laughter, and fun, so go out and enjoy it.
So let me leave you with this quote from ‘Rest: Why you get more done when you work less’. I encourage you to grab the book and have a read for yourself.
“When we treat rest as work’s equal and partner, recognize it as a playground for the creative mind and springboard for new ideas, and see it as an activity that we can practice and improve, we elevate rest into something that can help calm our days, organize our lives, give us more time, and help us achieve more while working less. Lubbock was right. Rest is not idleness.”
(Rest: Why you get more done when you work less. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang)
Signing off now for 5 weeks of Long Service Leave, but see you in June at our next productivity session! Looking forward to seeing you there.
Liesel has been at Arrow since 2013 and is passionate about creating experiences and environments that exceed peoples expectations and provide space for transformation. She loves a good travel hack and is always up for an adventure especially if it includes a theme park. Liesel is an Arrow Leader after completing the Arrow Emerging Leaders Program in North America in their 45th cohort in 2017/2018.