“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.”

If you are anything like me, you have a long to-do list. Both at work and at home, my list of what I have to accomplish often seems endless. I think of the book, I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. My favorite part of the book was at the end of each chapter, when the main character ran through a list of all the things she had to do in her mind. “Must remember…” is how it started, and the list was seemingly endless, varied, daunting, and from the outside, at times hysterical.

My own list is never hysterical – until I take a step back and look at it and ponder if it’s humanly possible to do all those things. Why have we all learned that our value rests so much on what we do, on how much we achieve? I just got off the phone with my husband, and he asked me what I had accomplished today and what business I had closed. I know he was joking, but why do we apply such pressure to ourselves to get things done?

I am all for accomplishing and I love the feeling of crossing things off of my list (I find that that’s the best part of having a list – crossing things off!) However, I often counsel my clients (and myself) to take a rest. To put up their feet. To sit still and do nothing. Or at least nothing admirable and achievement-oriented. Perhaps to read a book, take a nap, go for a stroll, play with a child… anything that offers their mind, body, and soul a much needed and much deserved rest from all that pressure to get things done.

When we take a break we come back refreshed – with new ideas and greater passion and enthusiasm. We build our stores of energy and creativity, so that our work is often easier, more inspired, and more effective.

So go ahead, give yourself permission and take a little rest.

What is on your to-do list that you can cross off, choose not to do, delegate, or leave until later? How can you give yourself rest with the time you have gained? At least once this week, schedule in time for rest – time when there is nothing you have to do or need to accomplish. Then give yourself another rest period that is spontaneous and unplanned.
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