I believe a productive life is one that has achieved a balance of work and rest. But between church, work and school I rarely have time to rest! And I know I’m not the only person who struggles with finding down time. Whether it’s your career, business, school, church or children something or someone is always fighting for your time. Having a full schedule isn’t the issue; not allowing yourself to rest is. How much rest we get improves our productivity. And when I mean rest I’m not just talking about sleeping. I mean giving yourself a brain break and getting away from all the noise. I have a bad habit of pushing myself to the limit. My mom is always yelling at me for that. Eventually, my body has a way of forcing me to rest. It’s the worst thing you can do to your temple because then you are just in bed- sick. After a while, I decided it was time for me to take control of my rest schedule. I still struggle with staying consistent with it but I know over time I’ll get better.
If you know me well enough, you know I’m addicted to my phone. It’s pretty bad actually so if you can refer me to a recovery program I’d greatly appreciate it! Our phone, tablets, etc are great because it keeps us connected. But sometimes we are too connected. Whether it’s a text message, Instagram, or email, there’s always something keeping us glued to our phone. A friend sends you a link to one funny video and next thing you know you’ve found your way to 10 more. That’s a good 30 minutes of relaxation that you just lost. Our electronics eat at our time and we don’t even realize it. As I type this I’m laughing right now because I just did this this morning. I was watching a TEDtalk for class. When the video ended, somehow I found another TEDtalk about Einstein the talking parrot-which had absolutely nothing to do with my class video by the way. Next thing I know I’m on youtube watching other videos of talking parrots. It took me a good 15 minutes before I thought to myself “Tosin, why are you watching talking parrots?”. Just a waste of my time. I find that when I turn off ALL of my communication to the outside world my mind is at ease. I have more time to meditate and I can just enjoy my own thoughts and company. Whether you turn off your electronics for an hour or a whole day it’s a great way to get away from all the outside noise and just be. I promise you- you can survive without it.
I started doing this last year and it has definitely helped! Not only does it help reduce mental draining, but it gives me something to look forward to. I schedule one “Me Day” a month. At the end of the each month I put in all my important dates for the upcoming month. Once all these days are in, I find a free day where I am not doing anything. And I mean absolutely nothing. No work is due for class. No emails need to be sent for church. No events need to be attended. That becomes my “Me Day”. And I’m intentional with marking it down in my calendar. If not, I end up committing to something else. Not only do I mark down my “Me Day” but I schedule exactly what I’m going to do. Is it a spa day? I make the appointment. Am I going on a mini shopping spree? I’ll set aside the money. Do I want to travel? I book the hotel. Also, you don’t have to spend money on a “Me Day”. Sometimes it’s as simple as binge watching my favorite show on Netflix or cooking myself a new recipe. A “Me Day” incorporates things that I do for myself that make me happy. Check out my post here to read more about Me Days!
There’s a reason why I put “just” before “watch a movie”. You see, I’m guilty of putting on a movie, while working, and calling it rest. No. It’s not. Okay yeah I might be lying down, but my laptop is also sitting right next to me. It defeats the purpose of resting. So I say: Just watch a movie. Don’t send any emails. Don’t make any phone calls. Don’t read any articles. Just watch the movie. This is something I’ll do after work if it’s a really stressful day. Once the movie is over my mind is clear and I can get back to work.
I love my family. But if you are looking for a place to get some work done my parent’s house is not it. I remember even when I was still at home it was such a struggle to work at home. Now that I’ve moved out, it’s a good thing. My parent’s house is my go to spot if I need to get away from the stress of the week or if I’m intentionally trying to keep myself from doing any work at home. Even if I attempt to bring my laptop with me to their house the likelihood of it getting opened is slim. Once I leave their house after a lively conversation I’m rested enough to get back into the work flow.
I have noticed how important time management is to achieving a balanced and productive week. If I say I’m only going to work on my blog for 2 hours then I only work on it for 2 hours. Not 3 hours not 2 hours and 30 mins. 2 hours. I have the tendency of wanting to work until kingdom come. While it’s a noble trait, it does not allow me to incorporate brain breaks into my schedule. So what I started doing was timing myself on every task that I do. Once I start working on something I set my timer to the amount of time I had already scheduled to dedicate to that task. Once the time is up. I stop. This is the hardest thing for me especially if I’m in the middle of a thought or I haven’t yet finished the task. However, for now, this allows me to stay disciplined with my time. I make notes of where I left of and I pick it up the next time. I’ll be honest, I’m still struggling with this. But I’ve noticed that when I apply this to my week I just feel much more productive.
So there you have it. Some things that I do to add some rest time to my busy week. I’d love to hear from you. Let me know if you incorporate any of these ideas into your week. What are some other ways you can add rest to your busy work week? I’m always looking for new ideas!