As busy, productive people, we constantly make to-do lists, formulate strategies, problem solve and push ourselves to do more. Aside from the deluge of external noise we deal with, from emails to messages and social media, our internal chatter can also become deafening. When this happens, it's time to hit the pause button.
Research shows that to maintain productivity and creative thinking in an overly busy world, it's sometimes necessary to switch off the noise and carve out quiet time to step back and gain clarity. It might seem counterintuitive that to achieve more we need to do less, but meditation and nature walks are just some of the ways to recharge our creativity, sharpen our decision making and boost our mental and physical performance.
As Tim Kreider, writes in the New York Times, "The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it as a whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration – it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done."
While it's not possible for everyone to take an extended holiday or join a silent retreat, you can still prioritise your mental health by taking short breaks during the day. Go for a walk around the block or find a calm space to enjoy your morning coffee.
Instead of treating rest as the downside of an inevitable burnout, we should think of it as work's equal partner. Recognise it as a playground for the creative mind and a springboard for new ideas. By learning ways to rest more effectively, we elevate it into something valuable that can calm our days, organise our lives, give us more time, and help us achieve more.
Remember, rest is not idleness; it's the key to a better life. It's good for you, and it's good for your creativity, innovation and performance.