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Why everyone should stop work more often

This is the second post in a new series about giving ourselves permission. The first one is here.  Actually, I wrote this post over a month ago, but forgot about it, and it languished in my drafts. But I think it’s still worth sharing, so here it is.

***

Last month, I tweeted:

This is my number 1 academic life hack: Get enough rest. That's it. The productive effienciency of the properly rested is HUGE. Twitter 7 Apr 2014

And I thought, ‘sure, this is something people know, I’ll get a few nods, a few knowing laughs, and that will be it’.

Instead, for days, my notifications flickered with retweets and favourites and dispairing replies from people all over the globe. I’d go to sleep and America and Europe would tickertape through the night, and then I’d wake up and Australia and Asia would tickertape through the day.

Ironically, I had to turn my phone off at night, so the notifications didn’t keep me awake.

I still get notifications from time to time, telling me someone else has found it, and found it useful.

Now for people whose stuff regularly goes viral, or who have enormous followings, that might be every day stuff, but for me it’s unusual. And that means I know I really touched a chord. 

***

Getting enough rest should be the easiest thing in the world. It just involves sitting down.

Now I got a few replies from parents of newborns, and I know there are other people in the world who are working 3 shifts to afford enough food to eat, subsitence farmers, emergency workers in the middle of out of control emergencies. And that tweet, and this post, are kind of not for you. Of course, yes get as much rest as you can, but I realise that it may be out of your control.

But everyone else, for goodness sake, getting enough rest means ‘go sit down’, perhaps ‘take a nap’, maybe ‘go to bed a bit early’ or ‘get up a bit late’ (depending on your body clock). Getting enough rest means ‘stretch out on the carpet and zone out’, or ‘curl up in the sun with a cup of chamomile tea and do nothing’. Getting enough rest means ‘slow down a bit before you go to bed, so you can fall asleep’.

It’s the easiest thing ever. And it’s the thing you are all LONGING to do.

So this post, like that tweet, is all about giving you permission. If you feel, as people responded through the night:

I can’t remember when I last felt rested

then you aren’t working efficiently, you aren’t making your best decisions. You aren’t doing your health, your mental health or your employer any favours. 

Go, get some rest. Take three days, or three hours, or three minutes. Give yourself permission. You’ll do better for it.

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