This afternoon I was putting my youngest in for a nap. She was telling me that she didn’t want to take a nap, and that she would rather play. I was letting her know that I understood that, but in order to play at our best, we have to make sure we get our rest.
A three-year-old doesn’t necessarily understand this, but the fact remains that if we want to be most effective, then we need to make sure we are exploring ideas and making decisions with an engine that is filled to the brim. This means we need to get our sleep, take a break, and allow ourselves the time we need to transition from one task to another, as necessary.
When my daughter work up from her nap, she was rested, in a good mood, and ready to play. Of course, we can’t necessarily ask our colleagues to go take a nap when we can tell they are tired. But, we can support their resting and relaxing in a few different ways.
First, we can recognize the fact that though email allows work to continue unabated at all times, we can’t expect our colleagues to always be thinking about work. We need to give them their space, and let them welcome family time and the recharging time they need to be at their best during work time. This means that while we can send an email at night, we can’t always expect a response.
Second, we can do our best to set up opportunities to work with our staff when they are at their most fresh. Getting to know our colleagues means we also get to know when they work best. And that means setting up meetings and work sessions when our staff need them to take place.
Finally, we can do our best to help our colleagues structure in reflective time (or “downtime) in their days to allow them a chance to shift their thinking and their processes. This means that when we schedule meetings, we should work to avoid filling up any one person’s schedule on any one day.
Resting isn’t necessarily about “taking a break,” but it is about helping us to shift our thinking and be ever more productive in the work that we do. And no one can argue with productivity and feeling rested!