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Deliberate Rest: What it is and how you can use it to recharge

https://blog.rescuetime.com/deliberate-rest/

blog.rescuetime.com

Deliberate Rest: What it is and how you can use it to recharge
For most people, taking a break means 15 minutes to grab a coffee or a weekend out of town. But more research is showing that to do our best work, we need to do less of it. And not just in a cram-more-into-the-workday sense.

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“Work and rest are actually partners. They are like different parts of a wave. You can’t have the high without the low. The better you are at resting, the better you will be at working.”

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

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Why we don't take time off

  • We think more work should equal more output: we see productivity not as doing more with less. But simply doing more.
  • We’re afraid of being “left behind”:  not only could we miss out on some important conversation, but we worry that we’ll be left behind.
  • Work has become a larger part of our identity: we feel personally connected to the work we do. Taking time away opens up all sorts of questions that can be hard to face. 

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Deliberate rest

It is a play on the term “deliberate practice” and it means engaging with restful activities that are often vigorous and mentally engaging.

It is not a continuation of work, but a way to find activities that let you recharge from your workday, while still being mentally productive.

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During periods of deliberate rest

  • Be unreachable: the more available you are to requests, emails, and messages, the more likely you’ll be to give up on your resting time.
  • Focus on the important, yet non-urgent tasks on your list: things like exploring new skills, finishing side projects, or sharing your work and engaging with your community.
  • Connect with people you’ve been meaning to: a simple conversation with someone who makes you feel good can give you a cognitive boost you can carry with you.

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Benefits of taking time off

People who create a proper work-life balance experience less work-related fatigue, lower rates of procrastination, and even better mental and physical health.

Time away from work impro...

Taking time off

It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to get the most from a day off and feel rested and restored for coming back to work is to do more with your time, not less.

Binge-watching TV can make you feel more anxious, stressed, and impact your sleep.

Do nothing (on purpose)

Purposeful idleness is no small task. A few tips:

  • Start with small sessions and take the time to build up your endurance.
  • To help you do nothing, keep your devices out of reach (or out of the room) and re-orient your furniture away from the TV and out a window.
  • Try open-ended toys or games like kinetic sand that promote idleness.

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Past predictions about the average working hours

Past predictions about the average working hours

Nearly a century ago, British economist John Keynes predicted this generation would only work 15 hours a week.

In 1890, workers worked an average of 60 hours per week. By 1890, the aver...

The rise in the average working hours: contributing factors

The rise in average working hours a week can be related to three serious issues:

  • We celebrate "being busy."
  • We worry about losing our jobs in the current economic climate.
  • We use devices that make us always on.

The rise of knowledge work has led to jobs with less structure, more demands, and higher pressure to be productive.

Overworking leads to decreased productivity

Studies show that working more hours increases productivity up a point; after that, the law of diminishing returns sets in. That point is around 49 hours per week.

Research shows overworked employees have an increased risk of fatigue, general poor health, and cardiovascular disease. Another study showed that managers couldn't tell which employees worked 80 hours per week and who just pretended to.

Taking good breaks

This is important for your daily productivity. Good breaks can leave us feeling refreshed and energized. It can reduce mental fatigue, boost brain function and keep us on-task for extended periods....

The brain and goal management

The prefrontal cortex of the brain is mainly responsible for goal management. It orchestrates attention, working memory and other cognitive resources to help us get what we want.

For a challenging task, briefly taking our minds off the goal can renew and strengthen motivation. Doing activities that rely on different brain regions is best to restore focus.

Going Natural

Exposure to nature restores the mind. One study showed better working memory scores for people after a walk in a natural environment, but not in an urban setting.

If you are unable to go into nature, find plants, fresh air or a fish tank. Sit down, take a deep breath, and notice the details of nature. Research shows that even looking at some pictures of nature can work.