What we earn for every second invested at work is directly related to the quality of every second spent in rest.
How can we be progressively more joyful, creative, productive, peaceful or exhilarated in every second that we invest in various activities? Well, the answer from the Indian tradition as well as modern psychology is that deeper you enter the state of rest, the better you become at any action. Even if you do not add to your existing skillset and remain the same person that you are, merely by deepening your level of relaxation, you can get more out of your time than you have been doing so far.
To be a contemporary person is to be switched on 24×7. I have myself been guilty of boasting how my busy schedule does not allow me to sleep enough. There are hundreds of studies that highlight the severe damage that lack of sleep inflicts on memory, intelligence, problem-solving abilities, decision making, creativity, physical fitness, and mental health.
Three hours of work after eight hours of sleep are more productive than eight hours of work after three hours of sleep. This is true for all kinds of work, including processes involving manual labour. You can put in more hours or push others to put in more hours by brute force, but you cannot force them to be as present, alert, and creative in those hours.
Rest management is the foundation of time management. Time investment, which is a step further down the road, is not a profitable venture for those who are not adequately rested. On sleeping well, I suggest everyone in the business of managing oneself and others to read Arianna Huffington’s seminal book ‘The Sleep Revolution.’ Her own turning point was when she involuntarily fell on her face due to sleep and fractured her cheekbone. It was a wake-up call that made her write the book.
The thing with sleep is that the hours lost cannot be made up for by sleeping through the weekend. Hours once lost damage the organs, dull intelligence, lower your immunity, and keep you from enjoying your waking hours fully.
The hours of rest are one subject. The quality of restfulness in those hours is another. Restfulness does not just have to do with the hours spent in lying down or sleeping; it is also about cleaning your waking hours of excessive noise, distractions, engagements, duties, and screen time. Here are a few tips for living a more balanced and restful life:
Meditate: Join a meditation group to learn a path of meditation that helps your brain (which tires itself by engaging in thinking 24×7) enter a state of rest and reach progressive levels of thoughtlessness. Put your mind to rest so your thoughts can soar.
Develop body, mind, and impact: Acquire skills that make you more efficient. This helps you use your body well, enables you to use your mind better, and facilitates the impacting of others in your sphere of influence.
Engage socially: Humans are social animals. To not interact with ‘your tribe’ is a mistake. It deprives you of warmth, friendship, human contact, and the feeling of being a part of the whole.
Serve: Self-worth is closely connected with the idea of ‘seva’ or service as an act of gratitude. To be in a state of being a servantleader is to understand that leadership is an opportunity to serve.