Have you noticed the extreme emphasis placed on productivity, efficiency (or should I say hyper-efficiency), on wringing every ounce of production out of every last minute?
It seems most people have lost the fine art of relaxation … the joy has gone out of life and the very thought of being disconnected from their technology makes them break out in hives.
Check out some of the latest reading material – bestselling books, magazines, blogs and YouTubes on productivity and efficiency and note how many of them give you tips and ideas on how to get the most out of any time you may have to spend waiting (in line; in the doctor’s office; in traffic; the airport – you get the idea), how to maximize your energy in the least amount of time possible, how to use your commute time to really get things done, how to get more out of your workday, how to create a super-effective meeting, and on it goes …
People are constantly checking their iPhones, inboxes, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook in a bid to get more done during their longer working hours.
So, tell me – to what end?
Is it about making more money for ourselves or our corporations? Are we trying to hold on to our jobs, the jobs we might want to quit anyway?
I suppose it is possible we’re trying to get everything (and then some) done for the love of doing it, and if that’s so, then Great! However; pounding out long hours working and putting life and rest on hold isn’t necessarily the best idea. There really are times when it’s good to Do Less, relax and breathe.
So, How Do We Do That?
Obviously, most of us understand the concept of working long hours in order to be productive and get things done. But, what if there was another way? What if it turns out to be working on important things, creating brilliant things and then relaxing?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating spending the day surfing the web or vegging in front of Netflix, or even napping all day … yet, on the other hand, why not? Why not take a delicious nap? How about a long lunch and a little siesta? Why not sit on a park bench with a good book?
Why not just enjoy those days when productivity seems elusive?
While it’s important for many of us that we earn what we need in order to pay the bills, being obsessive about productivity is not especially healthy. When you can’t seem to get things going and you’re not feeling productive, let it go – take a breather and stop beating yourself up with guilt.
You know, some of the major companies are incorporating nap time into the work schedule of their staff. Check this article out that appeared in the prestigious Forbes Magazine:
It’s Time To Start Taking Naps At Work
It’s totally Zen. If you take the time to relax and refresh, you’re far more productive than if you push through with little sleep and a lot of stress.
We Need to Learn How to Relax
The really sad news is that I even have to write this part of the blog. Most of us don’t have a clue how to relax. We get so upset at the thought of stopping and getting less done instead of more, that we can’t even wrap our brains around relaxation.
If you’re one of the rare individuals who actually does know how to relax but is feeling guilty about it, I encourage you to let the guilt go. Relaxing is good for you and actually makes you more productive.
But for those of you who have forgotten how to relax, you’re going to have a tougher time. Here’s a hint: don’t stress out about it. If you don’t know how to relax, it’s OK. Breathe. Take it slowly –
One step at a time …
- Take 5 minutes to go outside for a walk. Breathe the fresh air.
- Give yourself more time to do things. More time means less rush.
- After work, get outside, take in nature and run around if you can.
- Play. Play like a child. Play with a child. Play when you work.
- Give yourself a day off. Sleep. Watch TV. Eat bonbons.
- At work, give yourself an hour off. Don’t try to be productive. Just have fun.
- Take evenings off. Seriously, no working in the evenings.
- Get a massage.
- Watch your pets – they have it mastered.
And, here’s the Zen of it all:
Step by step, learn to relax. Learn that productivity isn’t everything. Creating is great, but you don’t need to fill every second with work. When you do work, get excited, pour yourself into it, work on important, high-impact tasks … and then relax.