Why We Need to Schedule Rest
If I’m not careful, I will spend way too much time at my desk, burn out, and then jump like a woman on fire from my work life, to my home life, and back again. You know what I am talking about.
People ask me all the time if I ever rest, and my answer remains the same, “Yes, but… I schedule it.”
Seriously, stop laughing. I know, it’s crazy to think about scheduling recovery, but you know what, it works. And the reason it works is because by putting recovery on our calendar and “to do” list, we give ourselves permission to actually do it. It’s a part of our day.
Without scheduling recovery, it’s easy to fall into the trap of desk lunches and lost workouts.
Whether breaks are 20 seconds or 20 minutes, we need to build strategic pauses into our daily routine to recharge both our body and our mind.
Here are some of the recovery points currently in my own daily routine:
Journaling / Goal-Setting
Evening Reading Time with My Kids (even when I’m on the road)
Identify What Brings You Joy (and Be Strategic)
When scheduling recovery, consider what brings you joy.
What rest points will you look forward to rather than skip? What will motivate you to dig deep into a project or engage in a meeting knowing that you have a period of recovery - however small - scheduled on the other side?
Schedule your most enjoyable recovery moments in the afternoon (when breaks have less power) to boost their effectiveness.
Recovery Ideas to Inspire You
Here are some recovery ideas to inspire you.
Walk / Run / Cycle
Stretch / Yoga Go
Tend to Garden
Sweep the Porch or Patio
Check the Mail
Refill Water Bottle
Quick House Pick Up
GoNoodle with a Kid
Meditation / Mindfulness
Walk around the Block
Coffee / Tea Outdoors
Coffee / Tea with a Friend (in person, on the phone, or video conference)
Lunch Outside (or at least away from your desk or work area)
Recognize and Celebrate Wins
Express Gratitude / Send a Thank You Note
Listen to an Audiobook
Read the Newspaper / Book
Listen to a Podcast Episode
Browse a Cultivated News Feed (e.g., RSS Feed, Twitter List, Flipboard, LinkedIn Hashtag List, etc.)
Now Schedule It: Time Blocking Your Recovery
Research has shown that for every 52-55 minutes of deep focused work, we should be stepping away to engage in 17-22 minutes of recovery.
Like many of us, I have had to compress my work schedule to accomplish more in less time. Prior to COVID-19, I was traveling at least three days per week. Now I am home with two of our three children most of the week, and the third has a shortened childcare schedule. While my schedule does not quite match this proportion of work to recovery, I try my best.
Here are what the time blocks for my "ideal day" typically look like. Whenever possible, I take a 20-30 minute walk, shower, and dress before the kids wake up. We also read together for 30-45 minutes every weekday evening.
Finally, Take Credit for It
We need to start valuing our recovery time the same way we do important projects, conference presentations, and kids' activities. I have a Todoist project labeled "Recovery" and commit to the tasks on this list the same way I do my other projects. It feels good to check off these items, and I know that - because I am resting - I am improving the quality of my work as well as my relationships in a sustainable way.
Put recovery on your task list - where it belongs - and show up for yourself.
What recovery points are fueling you and keeping you charged and at your best? 🔥