Breaks Increase Productivity | The Power of Resting the Body and Mind

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Rest is the best kept secret to productivity and satisfaction

We create so much work for ourselves, so much pressure to be busy and productive, it’s no wonder we don’t know how to rest, and we never feel satisfied with ourselves.

We’ve developed an automatic subconscious layer of guilt surrounding breaks and idle time.

The busier we are, the more productive we think we are. But is that true?

At the end of a week when we haven’t had nearly enough rest, not only do we accomplish fewer impactful tasks than we think we have, but we end up feeling stressed and unsatisfied.

We simply cannot do it all.

But we feel guilty about that. And taking a mental or physical break would only add to that guilt. So, we don’t rest.

It seems we think we don’t deserve to rest.

But I never feel like I’m doing enough.

But not taking a break from work and busyness reduces how productive we are.

“Rest is not idleness. It is the key to a better life.” – Alex Pang, Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

Numerous studies have shown that regularly working longer hours reduces creativity, ability to focus, problem solving skills, even sleep quality.

If we intentionally build mental and physical breaks into our week – time when we encourage ourselves to take a much needed rest, we give ourselves the gift of clarity.

Breaks gives us a chance to regroup and prioritize, to feel gratitude and to appreciate what truly matters.

Breaks gives us the mental space to choose more wisely to spend our energy where it matters most.

Being at rest and still can be the most nourishing, calming, restorative and productive non-activity possible.  You deserve to rest and be still (and not just in the hours you under the covers in bed!)

Running the never-ending, never-enough race that never ends is killing us.

We decide unconsciously and/or consciously that we need to get things done. The more, the better. Achieving becomes an addiction. And the only way we think we can achieve, is to be busy, busy, busy.

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is in, what are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

When we’re so busy, busy, busy, we lose sight of what matters to us most. Like loving. We can choose to spend less time achieving and more time loving. Loving our family, our friends, our life.

Our busyness even ends up taking priority over taking care of our health and wellness. We put ourselves and our self-care dead last.

Taking breaks seems lazy and unproductive, but without rest it’s no wonder why we feel stressed and exhausted and overwhelmed.

Worse yet, tired and drained, we end the day without the sense of satisfied accomplishment we yearn for. Because busyness doesn’t mean we’re doing what’s most important.

It’s when we take a break that we can see ourselves, our day, our life more clearly.

“We lay in bed and think, ‘I wish I had gotten more done’. But all those days add up to a life, and that’s not going to be the big regret at the end.” – Kate Northrup, Do Less

Maybe intentionally allowing ourselves to take a break here and there for rest, to disconnect from what others might see as useful work, to say no to an activity or event here and there – is exactly what we need to reconnect with ourselves. To restore balance and release built up stress and anxiety.

Give yourself a break. Consider how you can do a little bit less today and give yourself a rest.

Your value is in who you are, not in what you do.

Take time to consciously choose to unwind and be idle. In whatever form that takes – a mental health day from work, thirty minutes sitting in your car alone reading, listening to music, daydreaming, doodling, maybe taking a 10-minute nap (made you gasp at that one!)

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott

Learn to stick up for yourself.

You need and deserve rest built into your day. You don’t have to be constantly busy and productive in order to be worthy.

Push away any feelings of guilt, shame or selfishness. You do plenty for others, you need to take a break for yourself.

Cheers to sometimes doing a little less and to putting that productivity and satisfaction secret to the test… taking restful breaks!
– Marlene



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