Productivity: Rest Mindset

It’s the beginning of the year – that fresh new time where many people set resolutions or goals, reflect on the previous year, think back, think ahead – all of those things.

Last year, I blazed out the gate trying to achieve all my goals in the first week of January. Or just trying to do them in January. I don’t think it was an intentional thing – I think I just got so excited and so motivated that I wanted to dive in and start working on all the goals all at once.

And the result?

I got burned out. I spent every day trying to achieve something huge to shove my goals forward and I never stopped to just rest. Every day was a work day. If I wasn’t working on my book it was social media or reading for others or running or whatever else – all efforts were focused on trying to achieve my goals regardless of how I felt.

This year, I’m trying something different. I’m aiming for productivity while intentionally building rest into each week.

I don’t remember exactly where or when I heard/read this, but sometime in the last year, I was introduced to the idea of structuring life to operate from a place of rest rather than working toward rest.

In the Christian worldview, Sabbath (the day of rest) is an important and Biblical principle. For a long time, though, I have been guilty of NOT honoring the Sabbath, not participating in Sabbath because I am wired to be fairly go-go-go. Stopping to rest, especially for an entire day, feels really difficult sometimes. Most times. I think of things I want to do or write or say, and so I do it. (Even right now, I’m guilty of it because I came up with the idea for this post (and a couple other productivity posts), so I sat down to write on a Sunday afternoon)

In the Jewish world, Sabbath is the end of the week, Friday evening to Saturday evening.

In the Christian world, Sunday is viewed as the day of rest – that’s when church is and many activities don’t happen on Sunday.

However, wherever I heard this rest principle pointed out that when God created Adam, Adam’s first day in the world was a day of rest. God created man on Day 6, and on Day 7 (for God), He rested. But it wasn’t Day 7 of Adam’s life – it was Day 1. So, from the beginning, the template has been for man to operate out of a place of rest. To rest one day, then work 6. When this structure is followed, starting with a day of rest, in every 8 days is bookended with rest. When rest is the culmination of the week, one day of rest is sandwiched between 12 days of work.

So, I’m going to try that out this year. I’m going to try to really spend an entire day resting instead of working. Maybe that means watching football (well, for a few more weeks), or maybe it means reading, or maybe it means napping, or maybe it means knitting, or just being with my kids and family. But whatever it is, it means that I don’t exert myself engaging in work. Naturally, all my best ideas will come on Sunday and I’ll be tempted to follow them through, so discipline will be REQUIRED to only write down as much as I need in order to move forward, and then move back into a place of rest.

It’s possible I could have several blog post drafts started to complete on Tuesdays (my designated blog post batching day) or several ideas for youtube videos written out in order to batch on Saturdays. Whatever ideas come about, I have to maintain discipline to rest on Sundays so that I can feel recharged and energized for the week ahead.

This will be a massive challenge because accomplishment DOES give me a boost of energy, but only in the short-term. I need actual rest – physical and mental rest – in order to thrive.

I’m going to boost my productivity this year by focusing on rest. I’ll try to remember to come back to this in a few months and see how my strategy is working.

What are your thoughts on rest? Are you good at resting? Or are you kinda bad at it like me?