Rest: It's All About Downtime

Managing Rest: Like time, energy is finite,
but unlike time, your energy is renewable through proper rest and nutrition.

by Michael Corthell

We all like to go on vacation and there are some studies that recommend 5 to 6 weeks as the optimum time off per year. And the same advice applies to breaks taken throughout the day. Taking frequent breaks to increase productivity might seem counterintuitive/productive, but they're more important than ever in our modern working world of constant electronic contact.

We're constantly checking and updating our email, Twitter and Facebook in addition to the other stuff we're doing, and we don't take real breaks anymore — we just 'cyber-loaf' by fiddling and diddling on Facebook etc.

''Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand.
The Sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus''

― Alexander Graham Bell
Mr. Bell makes a great point here about productivity: focus. In order to focus properly on the task at hand we need our minds to be clear and rested. Constantly renewed throughout the day.

One of the biggest problems in explaining how you can increase energy levels and productivity is the fact that many of the ways to do this are counterintuitive. The following good habits do increase your energy level and your productivity, but on their face they look like they would do just the opposite.

The following habits will increase your energy levels and your productivity, plus improve your health. And best of all of this can be accomplished with little disruption of your work routine.

Remember to Rest BEFORE You Get Tired

Schedule rest time. Yes, it does sound counterintuitive. But you have to do it if you want to increase your energy and focus. You have to have to have adequate recovery from the stresses and strains of daily life.

''Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.''
―Benjamin Franklin

Prioritize your rest time. Increase your sleep to the proper amount. You may have to experiment with this to find out. Also, regardless of popular opinion, you can't really catch up on lost sleep. If you want to increase your energy, productivity, and focus you just have to get enough regular sleep every night. Once you do this, you will see an important difference.

Keep regular sleeping hours. A regular sleep pattern will allow you to function at your optimum level. To provide this degree of regularity, you can establish a regular time for going to bed and a regular time for getting up.

Nap regularly during the work day. Make it a daily habit. During your work day, your energy levels fluctuate and begin to drop. If you try and fight it, you will lose. Don't fight it, take a short nap or meditate and clear your mind for a few minutes each hour. This brief time will increase your energy levels and focus tremendously.

Develop a regular, daily exercise plan. You may think of exercise as something which steals your energy but when you exercise regularly exercise you build up your strength, and stamina. You feeling more energized and consequently more productive.

Eat foods that are good for your body. I'll keep this advice short, sweet and very pointed. I recommend a very balanced vegan diet. That's right, do not eat flesh or the by-products of flesh ―milk, cheese, eggs etc. The scientific evidence is now irrefutable that eating animals lowers our quality of life, damages our overall health and shortens our lifespans.

Yes, being a super productive person does mean that you manage your time effectively, but you must do a good job maintaining your energy levels as well. The working world is just starting to realize the importance of the right amount of rest, recovery and recreation for maximizing energy and limiting stress.

It does seem counterintuitive, but as you dig in and try these suggestions, making rest time a priority in your daily schedule, you will see a dramatically rise in your energy level, which will improve your productivity and safeguard your health. Take the time to rest, and more importantly rest properly.

The power of time off (to rest/renew creative energy)
by Stefan Sagmeister

Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a year long sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. He explains the often overlooked value of time off and shows the innovative projects inspired by his time in Bali.