The Fallacy of “I Can Sleep When I’m Dead”

10.30.18 Rest and Renewal

Early in our son’s career, he looked up to a business owner who regularly shared his mantra, “I can sleep when I’m dead.” This man was hard driving and focused. He drove a fast car and took exciting trips. Our son watched him and wanted the fast car and exciting trips. He (unfortunately) picked up the attitude of “I can sleep when I’m dead.”

As a young adult, you may be able to get by with that in the short term, but over time, the perspective that rest and renewal are not important will catch up with you. (If you don’t believe me, ask Arianna Huffington.)

The Need for Down Time

Rhythms of Productivity include seasons of planting and harvest, and times of fallow. We aren’t meant to keep up our productive pace 24/7/365. We need down time to recover, to rest, to renew before our productive juices can work at high speed again.

Practicing Rest and Renewal

Recently, I met a woman who was coming off of a very busy season in her business. For several years, she’d worked long hours building her business, providing a much-needed service in the health care sector. Gradually she assembled a team who could manage the business, so she no longer needed to run the day to day operations. Her role at this point was leading her team, who were very capable of keeping the business afloat and profitable.

This woman was fascinating on several levels.

  1. I admired the business she built and how she’d seen a need and created a business in the space.
  2. She saw another need and was discerning whether she should add an answer to this need as her second offering.
  3. As she discerned, she was in period of rest and renewal, a sabbatical of sorts.

What was she doing as she rested and renewed? She was spending a few weeks helping her sister-in-law paint her house.

What a great example of taking time away from our work to gain perspective, clear our mind and regain our creative and competitive edge.

Finding Down Time for Rest and Renewal

Fortunately for my new friend, she had the (hard-earned) freedom to step away from her business for this rest and renewal. You may not be able to step away from your work in this season. That doesn’t mean you can’t experience rest and renewal. Down time can be:

  1. Taking a break at lunch rather than eating at our desk while catching up on tasks
  2. Practicing the Pomodoro method of time management where you literally set a time and work for 25 minutes, then step away for 5 minutes.
  3. Setting blocks of time for deep work, then stopping the focused work to do less taxing tasks.
  4. Honoring your need for sleep and understanding the critical benefits of rest for your productivity the next day.

What about you? How do you make time for rest and renewal in your life? Share with us in the comments below.

For a deeper dive into the benefits of rest and renewal, check out these links:

Michael Hyatt’s Online Magazine

The Benefits of Slumber from National Institutes of Health

8 Reasons to Take That Lunch Break from Fast Company

4 Scientific Reasons Vacations are Good for Your Health from Inc Magazine

©Rhonda Peterson 2018, All Rights Reserved

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