And no, it’s not constantly pushing yourself to do more.
Constantly pushing yourself to do more does not lead to more. It leads to burnout.
Burnout happens as a result of too much. Too much work, too much intensity, too much stress. You do so much without recharging or resting that you become consumed.
Burnout feels like a job you once loved has become a form of torture. Like all you want to do is call in sick. Small tasks that you used to do before your first cup of coffee have suddenly become overwhelming.
Everything irritates you. You complain you are tired all the time. You snap at people and have a sinking feeling that you are not at your best. You begin to get tired all the time. Because burnout impacts your body’s ability to fight illness.
You feel exhausted. You could sleep for days.
You have to take time to recover.
Burnout is not something you can brush off. What you want back is not just your energy back but also life force and inspiration.
What you want back is the way you used to be.
The biggest lesson I have learned about productivity is that rest is crucial.
Never underestimate the power of a well-rested you.
You can take breaks in between your major tasks. Small breaks to stretch and walk around. Long breaks to go out for a walk or out to lunch.
These small breaks do the trick of getting us recharged.
Taking rest requires that you consciously feel what you are feeling and take charge of your body and mind that is getting you this depleted.
Your body needs constant rest. Your mind needs a break from any activity that requires it to concentrate. Your soul needs to be fed.
Allowing yourself to rest means different things for different people, but here are some common elements.
- Do nothing. After I write articles, I close my eyes and just be for a few minutes.
- Listen to soothing music. For some people, listening to soothing music soothes them.
- Silence. Finding the space to sit quietly for a few minutes in my workplace without the need to react or do anything is how I take my rest between training’s.
- Relaxing. Find activities that relax you. Cooking a simple meal relaxes me. Hanging out with my mom makes me relaxed.
- Get enough sleep.
- Go out to be with a dear friend. Rediscover the joy of connecting with someone.
- Volunteer. Do things for others.
- Take regular breaks from technology. Turn your phone off and go out and enjoy your cup of coffee (thank you so much, coffee, for giving me the chance to enjoy it!)
- Set boundaries. I take my regular breaks in between two hours of continuous writing. Leave your office during lunch. Take a walk. No more working late into the night or working weekends.
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The #1 Thing I Have Learned About Productivity was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.