Welcome to “chapter” five of our More Productive You blog series!
If you’d like to catch up on the previous chapters of 31 Days to a More Productive You, you can
- read everything I’ve written so far right here.
- check out quotes to share on social media right here.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve laid some important foundations with our “laws of productivity” posts.
Today we’re turning a corner and exploring the habits of a productive woman’s life.
Are you ready?
What kinds of words come to mind when you think of productivity?
Stop and think about it for a minute.
If you’re like me, then you probably think of action words like
- or focused.
Or maybe a phrase like
- working hard
popped into your head, or even resources like
- a great planner
- or calendar.
All of these things are a part of living out a productive life.
But there’s a really small thing that has a huge impact on our productivity, and this one probably didn’t come to mind.
I’m talking about rest.
Both the act of sleeping well at night, and the habit of learning to rest or re-center.
We’re going to unpack both of these aspects of emotional, physical, mental and spiritual rest in this post.
But first, let’s clarify-
What does rest have to do with being productive?
Those really aren’t words that come to mind when we think about productivity, are they?
But, friends, rest is vitally important for living well in this marathon called life.
This week, I watched a fascinating interview at Psychology Today.
Admittedly, the exchange between these two thinkers revealed a slightly secular viewpoint, but the truths about rest are universal:
We are designed to produce at peak levels only when we embrace a rhythm of both work and rest.
(You can watch the interview, or read the transcript, here.)
I always find it ironic when secular minds reiterate what God has already plainly told us in Scripture.
Remember what God said about a weekly Sabbath?
Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work… Exodus 20:9 & 10
The Hebrew word for Sabbath, “shabbat,” literally means “rest, or cessation.”
It means to stop what you’re doing and take a break.
And God commanded His people to do this once-a-week, every week!
The habit of keeping a Sabbath is both a spiritual and physical discipline; an act of worship and an act of rest.
Clearly, our Creator knew that our bodies, souls, and minds needed times a time of “shabbat.”
I’ve come to recognize rest as a beautiful gift from a loving Creator who knows what’s best for me.
When I embrace this gift, I have more energy and wholeness to effectively live into the creativity and potential that God designed when He made me.
So let’s tackle two aspects of rest: sleeping well at night, and cultivating rhythms of downtime.
Rest is a Good Night’s Sleep
For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with sleeping well at night.
In fact, I used to think it was normal to not sleep well (for me, anyway).
Part of this has to do with my driven disposition.
Stress factors also played into my insomnia issues, and the remainder of the problem was due to nutritional deficiencies.
It took several years of intentional problem-solving for me to finally unravel my sleep issues and truly learn to sleep well at night.
Now that I’m in my mid-thirties- and I’ve raised five kids past babyhood- I’m so thankful for the gift of a good night’s sleep!
In this season of life, I fall asleep easily at night and feel rested and ready for the day when I wake up every morning.
Since that hasn’t always been the case for me, I’m deeply grateful for the gift of sleep.
Maybe sleep isn’t your struggle.
I know lots of people who can fall asleep easily and sleep soundly all night without evening thinking about it (my husband, Jeremy, is one of those people).
If you do struggle with sleeping well at night, I encourage you to be proactive about seeking a solution.
Chances are, the answer- much like the problem- is multifaceted.
It could be stress, gut issues, unresolved issues in your mind or from your past, nutritional deficiencies or any combination of factors.
For me, restful sleep has come as a result of homeopathic treatment, daily nutritional support (this one contains probiotics, enzymes, plus minerals and other core nutrition), a clean diet, and dealing with my personal stress issues.
Rest is cultivating down time rhythms.
Would you be surprised if I told you that I sleep in at least one or two mornings every week?
Or that sometimes I turn my smart phone off for hours at a time?
Or that on the day that I’m writing this post (which happens to be a Saturday), I’ve done very little in the way of being “productive,” other than cook a big pot of potato soup for my family?
If I made every day a “shabbat,” you’d call me lazy.
And you’d be right!
But today is one of those “down time days” that our family (and I) desperately needed.
You see, tomorrow is our family’s most grinding work day. We all (kids included) pull about a twelve to fifteen hour day on Sundays.
And Monday through Friday, I’m up with the sun and running all day with homeschooling, housework, church-related responsibilities and home-business tasks to keep track of.
Every Saturday is not as luxurious as this one.
But it’s my goal to make sure our family climbs out of the grind at least one day (or one half-day) every single week.
Rhythms of rest are important during the week too.
Even on busy days, I try to catch some restful moments to recharge and recenter.
For me (a huge introvert), downtime often looks like
- an early morning of reading or writing, and a cup of tea
- a few minutes with a good book after homeschooling is done for the day
- journaling before bedtime
- thirty minutes to workout (without interruptions)
- a long, hot soak in the claw foot tub my husband put in the downstairs bathroom (good man!)
- a date night with Jeremy
- spending some time outdoors in the sunshine
We’ll explore more on the topic of health and self care later in this series, so I hope you’ll stay tuned!
It’s important for you to
- own your need for rhythms of rest
- cultivate windows of down time in your day
- embrace the gift of a “Sabbath” every week
You shouldn’t feel guilty for resting.
I’m going to share one more thought with you before we close this “chapter” today.
The reason I’m going here is because this is a really big issue for me: feeling guilty for taking time to rest.
Over the years, I’ve struggled to give myself permission to have down time because I felt like I was being lazy.
My husband always tells me (and he reminded me yet again this morning),
Resting isn’t being lazy. It’s being wise.
We can’t rest seven days a week.
But neither were we designed to stay in a grind seven days a week.
A truly productive woman will learn how to cultivate windows of downtime in her day, and a “Sabbath” in her week.
I’m still on a journey of letting go of the workaholic tendencies I tend to hold on to.
Embracing rest and times of “shabbat” as a gift from our loving Heavenly Father has changed the way I view my daily and weekly priorities.
I want to live and love well.
The honest truth is that I really can’t do that when I’m too busy and too tired.
If you need some encouragement in this area too, I hope you’ll check out the worksheets I created to correspond with this “chapter.”
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Next Monday, we’ll talk about another habit of productivity: exercise.
I’ll be sharing why (and how!) I make time for this important habit on a regular basis.
Here’s to living and loving well-
Read the previous chapters of 31 Days to a More Productive You.
Download your printable worksheets right here.
Find #moreproductiveyou graphics to share on social media, right here.