I am sitting in my backyard, watching the sunlight dance off of our pond, while the puppies zip around me to tackle each other. It is a beautiful day. No humans are at my house. The scenario is perfect.
Why do I feel guilty?
I was no longer making progress on this blog. I finished one. I went to Barnes and Noble for inspiration. Who knew at a bookstore they would have some bad disco station blaring tunes in the coffee area where all the tables happen to be? I put on headphones with more peaceful music, but I could still hear the overtones and, quite honestly, I don’t concentrate well with any kind of music.
It was Halloween and I knew traffic would get bad, so rather than start the second blog, I chose to beat the traffic arriving home in record time with no cars in the driveway. How exciting!
I immediately release the puppies from their pen and Bella, my 9 year old wiener dog, and the two baby wiener dogs set up camp in the yard.
This is when the guilt crept in.
Space Inspires Creativity, Guilt Doesn’t
Lord, help me come up with an idea for a blog. I went to the bookstore for inspiration, your creation is surely more inspiring. I am not just resting…I am sitting here for creative energy.
Why do I feel guilty Lord?
And it isn’t just guilt. I feel unproductive. Like I have wasted and frittered good time away. If I am not going to write, I should at least be getting ready for trick or treaters. Plus my sister and nephew are coming over. I need to clean up.
It has only been 15 minutes though. Shouldn’t I give my beautiful backyard and the cool sun drenched day a chance to produce ideas. To motivate my hand to the pen.
I concentrate on sitting still for a few more minutes. I throw a toy for my older dog…she needs exercise!
Then I wake up this morning and break out the book I got in the new Michael Hyatt Leader Box. Guess what it is called?
Rest. by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Seriously it is a whole book about how rest makes us more productive in our work. That rest isn’t the opposite of work, it is a means of life and productivity.
Rest Makes Us More Productive In Our Work
I have only read the introduction, but have already underlined something on every page. This excerpt is a good summary:
“When we think of rest as work’s opposite, we take it less seriously and even avoid it. Americans work more and vacation less than almost any other nationality in the world. Contrary to the expectations of economists (and in defiance of common sense), as we become more productive, we work longer hours, not shorter. We leave vacation days unused. When we do finally go on vacation, we compulsively check our email.”
In the author’s 4th conclusion about rest, he says, “deliberate rest stimulates and sustains creativity.” He goes on to say, “For super creative people, though, deliberate rest plays an important but usually unrecognized role in their creative lives.”
I know this.
I feel it. In periods where my schedule isn’t crazy I write daily. Ideas are plentiful. I write in the morning because that is when I am most rested. If you read my blog on the counseling site, I am going through a season of life that is not restful; especially mornings.
I have robbed myself of my most rested and creative time.
Entrepreneurs Will Handle Responsibility Better If Rested
As entrepreneurs, it is a balance. I know you feel exceptional responsibility for everything to go well in your business. You have to get the work done and solve all of the problems.
This quickly results in over-work. We try to reduce the cognitive dissonance of starting our own business and having supposed unlimited flexibility, to thanking God for all of the business and saying we are just lucky to be doing well, we can rest later.
The problem is obvious, as Soojung-Kim Pang states, “as we become more productive, we work longer hours, not shorter.”
I know working as a coach and a consultant, paid by billable hours, certainly can become that way quickly. If we are only billing by the hour, the faster we become at parts of our work, the less money we make. It should be that our experience and knowledge are even more valuable now. Even if we can do our work quickly and more efficiently.
We Can Find Inspiration In History
I am looking forward to digging in to this book. I have studied sleep and how important it is to our health, our mind, and our productivity. This book goes deeper than sleep. It talks about play as a form of rest too. It also gives examples of people who do strenuous adventure type activities as getting incredible rest.
We have to be like the scholars of the late 18th century/early 19th century taking long country walks and regular afternoon naps.
Or maybe even sitting in our backyard enjoying a 65 degree sun-filled afternoon doing nothing more than watching puppies play.