Resting is a Productivity Tool

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One area where Judaism and Islam agree (along with some Christian denominations) is the idea of a day of rest.  When people that struggle to agree on something, the areas they do are worth consideration.  Since none of these religions see laziness as a virtue then maybe we should view resting is a productive activity.  I think that is not a hard step to take.  We all know that we have to rest at some point in our day.  However, I believe we can extend periodic rest to regular longer term rest periods (a day for example).

A Successful Habit

Meditation is commonly touted as a habit of the successful among us.  This daily routine of thoughtful rest is considered a critical part of their success in many cases.  When you dig deeper, you will also see that The Successful find times of rest.  They will “unplug” on a regular, often weekly, basis.  Many also find regular periods to get away from their daily grind.  The rest might be a weekly day off.  Alternatively, it can be a less granular approach of several weeks of work followed by a week or two of rest.

This period of rest is not intended to help them catch up on binge watching the latest NetFlix show.  It is focused on helping them “recharge” and be more productive during the periods of work.

Our Natural Cycle Includes Resting

Although there are wide ranging theories on the proper amount of sleep we need, it is still generally accepted we have to do so each day.  We also know that our body cycles based on our sleep and will adjust to a schedule over time.  Unfortunately, that means we can even force our body to adapt to small amounts of sleep.  We will be able to function and produce, but studies have shown that our health suffers in the long run.

Thus, it makes sense that we can operate without more significant periods of rest (a day off, for example), but at what cost?  Unfortunately, a seventh-day rest (commonly known as a Sabbath) is addressed more in religious circles than scientific ones.  That leaves us with anecdotal data to work with instead of the scientific method.  Have no fear; we can tweak studies on a forty hour work week to find some guides.

Forty Hours Equals Six Days

Studies have shown that somewhere around forty hours of work in a typical week is where productivity plateaus.  Once we go above that level, productivity starts to decline quickly.  When you consider an average adult worker, a forty day work week is roughly equivalent to six days of labor.  On Monday through Friday the “day job” work gets done and consumes our time.  Travel times, meals, and general activities (school, sports, etc.) fill those five days.  Thus, when we get to the weekend, we have other chores to complete.  We have groceries, laundry, yard work, and many other little jobs to complete.  On an average week, those additional tasks equate to another day of “work.”

Our two days of a weekend are often a day of work and then, finally, a day of rest.  Granted, some lives are fuller than others.  However, ask that travel sports family that has full weekends about the toll it takes.  For us, we had ice hockey, and it was a long season.  From August to March we had full weeks with little time off.  That led to a four to six-week period in March and April where none of us wanted to do anything.  The whole family tended to flop on the couches and watch TV or play video games.  We even ordered out meals a lot because cooking and cleaning was “too much” for us.

I could go on, but I think experience is the best teacher.  Set aside a day for resting each week and try it out for a while.  I think you will find that your overall productivity will increase along with your happiness and energy levels.  With a payoff like that, what have you got to lose?

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