You Need To Rest (Despite What GaryVee Says)
If you have kids, you will have seen the movie Planes. Dusty Crophopper gets an upgrade and ends up competing with the world’s best in an around-the-world race. His coach (Skipper) is an “older” plane, retired from combat. Skipper tried to get back in the game only to find that when he attempts to accelerate too hard, his engine breaks and he is grounded again.
Our lives are similar: While we can red-line our engine, and while our body is remarkably resilient, push it too hard for too long and you won’t get more HP out of it — in fact it will probably have the opposite effect. Remember, great productivity implies consistent performance over time.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to justify you giving less than your 200%. What I am saying is that we are human and we have a body to maintain in order to perform! Rest is a big part of the design.
Firstly, what rest is not: taking a 4-day week, working an 8-hour day (including lunch) a regular 2-hour lunch break or a 6-week-a-year vacation. Remember, we want to max out every day. We are on a mission. Productivity comes when you produce. And time “off” means you aren’t producing!
Here are some rest strategies I employ:
- Take time to learn your body
It would be naive to give a one-size-fits-all statement here. Charles Barkley, a hall of fame NBA player, was said to have gone his entire professional basketball career on 4 hours of sleep a night. If I get 4 hours sleep, I can’t stand up straight. You need to take a good quantitative look at your body. Earn an masters’ degree in “your body”. Study it. When do you feel more rested. When do you feel more tired. Is it linked to what you eat, what your night-time rhythm is. Be aware.
- Eat real, eat enough, and eat early
It’s hard to rest if your stomach is doing summersaults all night. I know. I watched as my dad’s stomach seemed to have endless issues. My recommendation is simple. Eat “real” (not processed) food, eat enough — not too much, and eat early, which means get your last meal of the day in early, say 6 or 7pm latest. If you are hungry afterwards, reach for an extra 2 glasses of water. You will be fine.
- Water water water
On the topic of water, keep a large glass or jug next to you all day. Aim for 3 litres a day… 2 litres minimum. When you pee, it should be clear. Lots of water throughout the day means your body is less likely to be busy doing major digestion when you need to be sleeping.
- Get seven to eight hours, if possible two before midnight
I know Arnold Schwarzenegger says to those who say they need 8 hours to just “sleep a little faster". I am not as radical as him, although I can appreciate what he is saying — Give yourself what you need to ensure you are performing at your peak. I recommend seven to eight hours, if possible two of them before midnight. Signs you aren’t sleeping enough: 1. Your alarm always wakes you up 2. You struggle to lose weight even though you are active and have a good diet. 3. You have trouble falling asleep or you sleep lightly all night.
- The 12–15mn power nap
Finally, the historic “power nap”. You might think you can’t even get calm in 15 minutes, especially in the midst of a busy day, but you would be surprised! Even if you don’t manage to doze off, I promise you will feel more rested after you are up and at it again.
Great productivity implies consistent performance over time
I’m not advocating for a 7 day work-week, I personally maintain one sabbath (or rest) day — I do believe that rest is as important as the food you eat, the exercise you do, the words you take in and the words you speak out. I am living proof of it. Make it a key part of your arsenal and watch your productivity explode.