Sleep and Rest – Every other article these days seems to push the idea that more sleep and more rest make for a productive person. Quite honestly, it’s kind of annoying that the things that are supposed to chill me out are stressing me out. Of course, I suffer from the same notion when we talk about meditation – so I’ll keep working on it and how I perceive them. In light of great articles about rest, I think this one by Aytekin Tank is a good one looking at how it impacts your team…
I’m going to tell you something about productivity that most top-ranking Medium authors and famous startup gurus won’t.
It isn’t a hack that you’ll read in the latest Lifehacker headline or see among the top #lifehacks Tweets.
Instead, it’s a technique that, when integrated into your company culture, will lead to record productivity.
It is this: Sleep and Rest.
In it, he explains that in order for work to work, there also must be rest:
“Rest is not this optional leftover activity.
Work and rest are actually partners. They are like different parts of a wave. You can’t have the high without the low.
The better you are at resting, the better you will be at working.”
Sure, if you work for a longer period of time you’re bound to produce more results. But “production” doesn’t always equate to “productivity.” Especially not the sustainable and repeatable kind you want at your company.
Both my personal experiences and 13 years of building JotForm, have taught me that once you learn to balance work with restorative rest — your productivity will skyrocket.
Think about it this way: If you’re on the road driving a vehicle for hours on end without rest, eventually you’ll get tired. Your eyelids will sag. You will begin to swerve.
You’ll be a menace to society.
While less life-threatening in most instances, working without rest will cause you to make just as many unnecessary mistakes.
You’ll be a menace to productivity.
Even the most productive mind needs time to recharge.
In Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, brilliant thinker and writer Maya Angelou described setting aside a specific block of time to write every day. After that, she put work aside to enjoy “a semblance of a normal life” with her family until the next day.
“I try to get there around 7, and I work until 2 in the afternoon.
If the work is going badly, I stay until 12:30.
If it’s going well, I’ll stay as long as it’s going well. It’s lonely, and it’s marvelous.”
But rest isn’t only for writers or other “creative types.”
Billionaire founder of the Virgin Group Richard Branson rises early to exercise and enjoy time with his family.
And Bill Gates, who is widely considered one of the richest people alive, makes time to read an average of one book every single week.
“Still, reading books is my favourite way to learn about a new topic. I’ve been reading about a book a week on average since I was a kid. Even when my schedule is out of control, I carve out a lot of time for reading.”
After a full month, week, or even day of really concentrated work without any restorative rest, it’s hard to come up with any new ideas.
If you are able to force an idea out, it’s likely to be full of mistakes. Mistakes you’re less equipped to spot or correct with your tired and overworked brain.