Bookstores these days are swamped with books about getting more stuff done.
Goal setting, time management and productivity texts are everywhere.
But with all this emphasis on doing more, the advantages of doing less are being forgotten.
Yet research increasingly shows that anyone serious about high performance should pay as much attention to resting as doing.
According to the Human Performance Institute in Florida, improving the quantity and quality of rest is one of the most effective ways to work more efficiently.
Basically, when we are rested we think better, can work longer, can concentrate more, are more creative and achieve more.
Yet how many executives or business owners do you know who treat rest seriously?
Most do the opposite. They think nothing of working late nights and weekends - some wear this endless busyness like a badge of honor - the longer I work, the more I will be respected.
Well although our culture currently applauds these work horses, productivity experts say it’s not a smart way to live. Or achieve.
For example Tony Schwartz from The Energy Project has shown that when we take rest seriously we will almost certainly get much more done, our work will be of a higher standard, our thinking will be more accurate, and as a result our incomes are likely to rise.
What are the secrets to using the power of rest?
1. Work in 90 minute bursts. That’s about the most humans can function before their effectiveness starts to slip.
2. Take a ten minute break at least 3 times during your week day - this will reduce stress and greatly clarify thinking.
3. Treat your appointment with sleep as being as important as any other in your diary. Have a clear time to go to bed and try to get up at the same time daily (the body craves order).
4. Sleep in a very dark, very quiet room. This increases your frequency and depth of REM sleep, viewed by experts as the most rejuvenating level of slumber.
5. Don’t work weekends unless you have to. And if you do, try to get all your work done in a single concentrated block-rather than doing an hour or two several times throughout Saturday and Sunday.
6. Book your holidays (or at least diarise them) at the beginning of the year. That will double your chances of taking them and knowing you have a vacation coming will reduce your overall stress.
7. Use sleep aids like Melatonin, SAMe, or LTryptophan. They help you make the most of the hours you do sleep.
Rest is important for peak performance in business. But it’s one area that executives consistently fail to maximize.
Try this test: focus on rest for just one month. I bet that you’ll not only feel much better, you’ll work much better. And the better you work, the more you’ll outperform your competition.
Rest will make you better than the rest.