“Sometimes the cure for restlessness is rest.” –Colleen Wainwright
I think I’m lazy. Maybe not in the traditional sense, however, but in that I am always trying to relax. Honestly, it’s my daily goal. Why? Because I know that without taking time to relax and decompress that I become angry, stressed and unproductive. My brother Danny who lives with us always teases me about “my relaxing” and even put the ringtone on my phone to that song, “Relax, don’t do it, when you want to go to it…” Lol. I spent many years burning the candle at both ends and I was never less productive. I was constantly going, going, going and never actually doing anything. I was busy, but not advancing–spinning my wheels. So, over the last couple of years, I’ve learned that taking downtime is nonnegotiable and have made it a priority in each day.
Now, whether this is true laziness or not, I don’t know. But I do know that my bottom line includes valuing both productivity and time over all else. Time is actually worth more than money. I guard my time like crazy and when my calendar is booked solid, I become a very cranky victim of my schedule. The 2 reasons downtime is so important to me:
1) I need autonomy. This is the #1 most important thing for me–time and space to do whatever I need to do, whenever.
2) I can only work hard when I am able to also take downtime to reenergize. Like Rest-based Training, I practice Rest-based Living.
In the book, ‘The Power of Full Engagement,’ the authors talk about the importance of managing energy, and how if we don’t take time away from work, away from stress, away from people, etc, that our productivity suffers, we get sick and basically hate life. I have experienced this, like I am sure many of you have–a never-ending frenzy of “stuff.” We usually make it about the fact that “we can’t” take downtime, but much of how busy we are is self-imposed. Yes, we actually do have some sort of a choice when it comes to how thinly we spread ourselves. Maybe not much wiggle room, but perhaps it’s possible that if we closely examine our schedules, we can carve out even 15 minutes for ourselves each day.
I have a coaching client who is a mom to 2 small children, a wife, a homemaker, works full time and still manages to get in a 30-minute walk by herself every morning. However, she’s worked hard to find that time. She’s made it a priority. And it has become invaluable for her in terms of production and being able to be a good mom, wife and employee the other 23 and half hours of the day.
Do you think you could take a hard look at your schedule and carve out some lazy time? I.e. productive time?
Choosing to take downtime has to be a conscious choice and priority. It means giving up booking yourself solid. It means being ok with just being. And it means giving up being the busiest person on earth :)
Someone asked me on Twitter the other day how I manage to read so much. Simple. It’s a choice. I choose reading over shopping. I choose reading over TV. I choose reading sometimes over talking to Jade. Lol. It’s not a judgment, reading is not better or worse than any other method we use to unwind. But for me, it’s an important way to decompress and reenergize myself. In addition, I schedule times into my day when I literally do nothing. I relax. I read books on topics I am interested in. I go for leisurely walks, I just allow myself to be lazy :) There. I’ve said it.
I also build in “block time” to my schedule (borrowed from Brendon Burchard), where I turn off all email, social media, phone, etc and focus very intently on getting things accomplished for a short amount of time. I turn off all distractions (including other people) and work like crazy. I pencil in 3-4 hours of block time each day. And I have never been more productive. A few hours of intense work is incredibly powerful, much more so than semi-working for 9 hours straight.
So, if you want to become more productive & less stressed, it’s time to get a little lazier. Carve out 15 minutes to be alone. Take a walk at lunch by yourself instead of eating with colleagues. Use your drive to and from work to be quiet and thoughtful, kill the radio. Head into bed an hour earlier and decompress with a good book. Get up 30 minutes earlier to journal. All great ways to boost mood, productivity and balance out the hectic pace that we often subject ourselves to. Give yourself permission to relax :) I’ll see you on the couch. ox Jill