There is one thing that every human being shares, and it is the 24-hour day. No power on earth exists that can extend or shorten this absolute time frame. It is as certain as death and taxes. However, how you choose to spend your 24 hours is completely under your control.
Most aspiring entrepreneurs, feeling the pressure to perform, decide to forgo everything else and focus all their time on growing their business. The result is fatigue, questionable judgement, and ultimately, depression.
Energy is the Most Vital Resource
Since time is practically static when it comes to the daily grind, it would be futile to attempt to manipulate it. The corporate buzzword “time management” is a misnomer, since what is being managed isn’t time but personal energy. Every day, people like to plan out their calendars in order to make appointments and set goals.
They eagerly partition chunks of time so that each endeavor they want to accomplish gets an appropriate amount. Rarely do they question whether or not they have the necessary energy in their minds and bodies to perform those tasks. What usually happens is that people overestimate the number of assignments that they can finish, and they end up skipping a large part of their expected routine because of mental and physical fatigue.
It only takes one glance at the mountain of failed New Year’s resolutions to prove this is true.
Energy is Not Unlimited
Working adults often look at rest and relaxation as a waste of time. This is especially applicable to business owners. The vast majority of their day is spent on developing their companies. Even during break periods, their minds are preoccupied with planning their next moves.
This paradigm, although common, is sorely misguided. The notion that constant work will lead to success is a pipe dream that does not take into account the expenditure of energy. Just as a cell phone only functions for a specific amount of time before shutting down, the body experiences exhaustion after a full day of nonstop activity.
Even if the activity only involves pushing pencils, it still requires a fair degree of concentration, and this can take its toll if the person is not careful.
And here’s the key: an equal amount of work and rest is ideal for success.
When an electronic device signals low power, you naturally let it rest and plug it into an outlet to recharge its batteries. Human beings are much more complex than machines, and an hour of recharging is not enough. The ideal amount of relaxation should be approximately equal to the amount of work performed.
If you spend eight hours at the office, the bare minimum for a timeout should also be eight hours. This might seem counterintuitive, particularly for those who are hungry for success and convinced that every moment spent in quiet sleep or contemplation is a squandered opportunity.
However, those who have achieved success have figured out the complete opposite: every moment spent at rest generates more energy to rely on during the next chunk of time spent working.
Rest is not a Synonym for Work
Habits are hard to break. When aspiring business owners, entrepreneurs, and anyone chasing after a dream first applies this concept of equal work and play in their lives, their unconscious patterns of thinking always seem to sabotage their progress.
When the person goes for a breather, their workaholic mind fills in the lack of activity by furiously planning and fretting about the future. Even though they are lying down on the bed or engaged in something they find enjoyable, their worries about work continue to drain their energy.
Rest is supposed to be rest. This means completely unplugging both mind and body from the tasks to be done at school or in the office by letting it relax, whether through sleep or entertainment. Pretending to put your feet up when you’re running a marathon in your thoughts and emotions is just another way of burning yourself out.
Quiescence leads to success and a healthier life.
Do not underestimate the value of letting yourself unwind. The body is not meant for long periods of furious activity, even though on the surface it might seem that way. Setting aside equal chunks of time for both rest and work allows you to stay sharp all day long. Ironically, by forgoing work and unplugging from the drudgery of necessary labor, you come back with better ideas, greater motivation, and renewed passion for the tasks at hand. This translates to larger profits in your business and the ability to make more of an impact toward the customers and clients you are trying to serve.
In the end, the old cliché is right: it truly does pay to stop and smell the roses.
Here are five books that we recommend for learning more about the importance of relaxation.
“When I first started working a lot, my wife and family eventually started seeming like strangers,” said one personal injury attorney. “After reading The Off Switch, I figured out a new way to balance and life without feeling like I was getting too little done at work or spending not enough time at home.”
“A welcome alternative approach to overtaxing our brains and then reaching for the pill bottle,” writes Kirkus Reviews, “[this book] should warrant serious attention.”
“Declutter Your Mind has a strong focus on Mindfulness, and how we can tap into our greater selves to create a life of relaxation, peace, serenity and freedom,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “In a world of increasing complexities, schedules stacked up, and distractions controlling our lives, there has never been a better time than now to start ‘decluttering’ your mind.”
According to Wikipedia, hygge means, loosely, “‘a form of everyday togetherness,’ ‘a pleasant and highly valued everyday experience of safety, equality, personal wholeness and a spontaneous social flow.'”
“During the reading I was convinced that my daily life has hygge in abundance – perhaps it’s in my blood – but if I have to mention one thing that I do every day it would be enjoying a cup of quality coffee and reading a book,” writes Lisa Hjalt on her blog. “If you feel that you need hygge in you life I highly recommend getting a copy of this book. It’s full of ideas.”