More and more people seem so buried under work that they find it difficult to take a break and get the rest they need. Over the last couple of weeks, at least five friends have expressed how demanding their work has become so that they can’t even find an hour for lunch or time to enjoy an evening away from their work. Unfortunately, this scenario has become way too common place.
It’s easy to feel compelled to keep working until you have things under control … until you’ve done enough to have confidence that you’ll meet all the deadlines. I get it. I’ve been in that situation many times. Truth be told, we could work around the clock and never feel like we’ve gotten everything done that needs to be done.
Here’s what I’ve learned. We are only able to give our best when we incorporate rest in our routine. If we don’t establish a healthy rhythm of work and rest, we’ll eventually breakdown — all that hard driving will lead us to the point when we have no choice but to stop completely. Unless we find a rhythm of rest that works for us, our creativity will take a hit, things will slip through the cracks, and our energy will take a nosedive.
If you’re working so much that you can’t seem to find time for rest, consider these strategies to create a rhythm of rest in your work routine. If you make even one small change, it can help you meet the demands of work with greater strength.
- Include time to rejuvenate in your schedule. Eight hours of sleep followed by quiet time with the Lord daily can provide the clarity you need to think more clearly and innovatively about your work. A short walk and some fresh air can also do wonders. When you’re rested, it’s much easier to hear God’s still small voice and sense His presence (Isaiah 40:31).
- Humble yourself and ask for help. We were created to be in relationship, and that includes at work. God put other people in our lives so no one has to do it all. By allowing others to help you, you are giving them the opportunity to use their gifts, and giving yourself margin so you can take a break (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
- Know your top three. The more we multitask, the more productivity is actually hindered. When you know your top three priorities and focus on them every day, you’ll get the most important things done in less time. That will allow you to create much-needed margin for rest.
- Get tasks out of your head and into your calendar. For the things you know you need to do, but not today, write them down. Create a place on your calendar for those tasks so they don’t take up space in your head and distract you from what’s most important today. This allows you to free up mental energy so you can be present to your top three today.
We are not called to be superhuman. We are called to seek God first in everything (Matthew 6:33) – for strength, wisdom and direction. But we have to admit we need God and invest time in His presence so that He can provide us with everything we need, including rest (Matthew 11:29).