Rest and Work
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Is it just me or does everyone seem more tired and stressed than they used to? We have more labor-saving devices than ever. We have more technology than ever. And, we continue to work harder than ever. Increasingly, I am convinced we need to take rest as seriously as work.

Work and rest are not separate and completely unrelated efforts. Rest is the complement to our work. With the evolving understanding of our brains, we have begun to understand that the quality of our work is directly related to the quality of our rest. While at rest, we are told that our brain continues to make connections related to topics and challenges that confront us. Rest allows us to be more creative – and more enjoyable to be around.

Most of the great thinkers were – and are – most creative when they are rested. Many of the breakthroughs in science, technology, and business were made while resting or relaxing. We now know that it was the brain using the time away to make an important connection. It was the brain re-energizing. Are you giving yourself this advantage?

To be honest, I have found it difficult to truly rest. Which means that I have had to take seriously the quality and length of my rest. When I work too much – it shows. I am less effective, and I enjoy my work less. Without good and frequent rest and relaxation, I would not be effective in my roles at work, in the community, and with friends and family. When I take time off during the evenings and on weekends, I now consider it the best thing I can do to serve our members and the important people in my life. They deserve a better, well-rested me. Almost all of the decisions and actions I have regretted have happened when I was not well-rested. Have you ever caught yourself saying, “what was I thinking?” We now know we were not thinking. We were reacting. Well-rested individuals are better thinking and acting people.

As a leader, I now tell people to take time off. I tell them to use their vacation. I can see the stress developing and I step in to say that we need them at their best – go home and get some rest and time with family and friends. If we are going to work faster and smarter, we need to rest better and with intention. Rest and work are highly-related. We need to treat them as such.

How are you resting? Do you show up at work rested and relaxed? Do you help others find their best balance point of rest and work? Are you an example of someone who values time away during the week, weekends, and vacations? Everyone is different, but we all need high-quality rest to be our most creative and capable selves. Give yourself and others the gift of rest this new year. If you do, 2020 will be better for you and those around you!