Got a tough project? Maybe you need to do nothing.

A few Mondays ago, I did something radical: I took a day of rest.

When’s the last time you had a day of rest? Not the Take-a-Breath-Between-Meetings kind of rest (though that’s life-giving sometimes). And not the Fruity-Drinks-in-Tahiti kind of rest (though doesn’t that sound lovely?).

But The-World-Can-Wait kind of rest: Deliberate. Measured. Restorative. It’s the kind of rest I believe, in principle, we should all do once a week. But that, in practice, I had to put on the calendar and commit to months ahead of time.

Not a Sick Day – A Rest Day

On my rest day, I took a long walk, finished reading a book, got a haircut, drank coffee while it was hot. I did, in other words, nothing extraordinary.

What is extraordinary is this: my day of rest had the support of my whole team. No sneaking a sick day or creating the appearance of productivity to make my day seem “worth it.” Just a date marked off on the calendar, and a team who made sure to share their delight in my rest day as soon as got back to work.

The Investment of Rest

Here’s the unexpected side of deliberate rest: it doesn’t benefit just the person resting. Carving out a pocket of time for stillness lets me return to the normal pace of life feeling refreshed in body, mind, spirit, and perspective. My colleagues feel it, and the quality of my work reflects it.

At Reify Media, rest is built into the business model: our team is encouraged to take the time we need to recharge. And because it’s often hard to remember to recharge when things get busy, our team models self-care for one another. We remind each other to put up an email away message and truly step away from work… and toward rest, when it’s needed.

Your Turn?

If you took a day of rest, what might you recharge? Would that hard conversation feel more manageable? Would that new idea have more clarity? That project, more energy?

I don’t want to presume that you need a rest. But in case it’s helpful, hear this: you can rest.Whether you’re reading this as a boss or an employee, you can put it on the calendar, admit that you’re human, and just stop doing for a day. And if you rest, maybe someone else will rest too. And you might, in a small way, begin to change the culture of your team, your organization, and (is this too dreamy?) even our 24/7, do-more-now country.

So reader, get it on the calendar. Tell your team, put up your away message, then go forth and do… nothing.

This post was also published on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/got-tough-project-maybe-you-need-do-nothing-susanna-klingenberg/.

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