Rest Can Be Just As Productive As Work

We already know that we need a certain amount of rest, every day, to maintain our health and prevent burnout. But a lot of us don’t take that rest, even if we desperately need it, because we feel like we ought to spend our time being “productive.”

Well. Turns out one of the top productivity experts advises the exact opposite.

A recent Inc. article cites Laura Mae Martin, Executive Productivity Advisor at Google, who defines productivity not by accomplishment itself, but by accomplishing what you intended. If you wake up thinking that you’d like to spend the day resting and reading a book, for example, but you end up running a bunch of errands—well, that’s not being productive by Martin’s definition. That’s being just as wasteful with your time as if you were supposed to be working on a project and spent your afternoon watching YouTube videos instead.

But Martin’s larger, and very insightful, point is that productivity is really about intent. If you intend to spend the day writing a proposal but wind up watching Netflix instead, then that’s lost productivity — but that’s also true if you spend the day answering a thousand emails or sitting in meetings that aren’t directly helpful for your job. And if spending time with your kids is one of your priorities, then driving them to school is time spent productively.

In other words: When you intend to work, work. When you intend to rest, rest. When you intend to connect with others, be present.

So if you were hoping to take some time off and relax this weekend, take that time. Don’t spend it trying to get ahead of the housecleaning or the email. You’ll be more productive, in both the short and the long-term, if you stick to your intentions and take time for both sides of the work-life balance.

[referenced url=”” thumb=”×231.jpg” title=”How To Take More Midday Naps” excerpt=”So-called “nanna naps” are often seen as a sign of weakness or the onset of doddering old age. However, there is mounting scientific evidence to suggest daytime naps can improve health, productivity and general well-being. This infographic explains the biological reasoning behind short snatches of sleep, along with different napping styles to help you find the perfect technique for catching afternoon Zs.”]


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