If you’re like me, you feel the need to always be working on something, whether that be working on the next homework assignment, checking your email or going to the gym.
For years, I indulged in this practice and attempted to stay busy every waking hour of my day. However, I struggled.
I was always falling asleep when I was supposed to be studying and found myself picking up my phone when I started to get bored of reading. I would be exhausted at the end of the day and struggled to get up the next morning. In short, I wasn’t very productive at all, and I felt guilty that I wasn’t.
I continued with this struggle all throughout last year, but then I had a realization. After reading articles online and thinking about my unproductivity, I realized what I needed more than anything was rest.
Rest gives us an opportunity to recharge. It gives our brain a break and a refreshed perspective when we come back to our work.
When we are constantly trying to accomplish things, our mind wants to wander somewhere else. We are unfocused, uncommitted and unproductive if we are overworked. However, when we give ourselves time to rest throughout the day, whether that be in the form of taking a nap, watching Netflix or chatting with roommates, we can be more productive.
This year, I started blocking out my work and rest times in Google Calendar. Instead of coming back from class and trying to dive straight into an assignment, I started to give myself a short break in between.
I think through my assignments for the day and block out a certain amount of time to do them. Outside of my scheduled work time, I can do those so-called unproductive, but equally necessary, things like taking a nap or scrolling through Instagram.
This might sound counterintuitive, as we often think the more we rest, the less productive we are. However, I have found the opposite to be true. The more time for rest I give myself, the more focused and productive I am at work and in school. It sounds simple, but it’s had a profound impact on my productivity.
I’m not suggesting to slack on commitments. It’s still of the utmost importance to hold myself accountable to my to-do list, but I think I tend to push myself too hard.
American society glorifies the grind and the hustle, but I have found these mindsets to be unhealthy. I’m an overthinker, so constantly focusing on work stressed me out even more, and I ended up accomplishing less. Now, I work hard, but I do so strategically.
I urge you to closely examine your work habits, make sure you’re properly resting and take care of yourself. You’d be surprised how much this will help your productivity and overall happiness.