Why Doing Less Is Critical For Success
We all have those friends or colleagues who brag about how little sleep they get. They can get into your head—making you feel like somehow if you’re not totally destroying your body in the pursuit of your goals, you must not really want to succeed. But that’s simply not true. Not only is your body designed to get around seven or eight hours of sleep a night, spend regular time in nature, and be surrounded by loved ones to survive but so is your brain. So to those individuals who think that just your muscles are taking a hit when you don’t sleep, you’re wrong: your mind is suffering, and so too is your work because of it. We’re not robots; we don’t function on information input alone. We need certain things (like rest) to make the most of the information we take in. Here is why doing less is important for success.
The creative brain flows during rest
Have you ever noticed that you come back from a long walk, or a night watching a live show, or listening to a poetry reading, with a head full of ideas? That’s because your creative brain flows during rest. You need to give yourself the chance to take in information in order to come up with ideas. But you can’t do that if you’re always doing, doing, doing.
Don’t insulate yourself with like-minded people
You won’t get far if you only surround yourself with like-minded people. While constantly being around those in your industry might be good for networking, it isn’t good for ideas. Everybody is circulating the same information, and looking at things with a similar perspective. Take a break, and hang out with your friends (outside your industry) to tap into different ways of thinking.
Rest kills the nerves that kill your presentation
Have nerves ever destroyed an important presentation you had to make or a critical phone conference? It happens to everyone, but it especially happens to those who don’t rest. People trust calm people, but it’s hard to be calm if you’re constantly on the go. Taking a break to have lunch with friends before a big meeting can get you in a relaxed, nerve-free state of mind.
Your brain doesn’t work on low sleep
You make mistakes when you haven’t slept enough. You forget things. You misread things. You mishear things. You miscalculate, misinterpret, and misunderstand. How are you supposed to be successful like that?
You need to zoom out, then zoom in
If you’ve been banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why things aren’t working out, you need to get away. When you’re constantly working, you can only see the events immediately behind and in front of you. If you step away from work—like really step away to travel or be with family—you can see the bigger picture of what you’ve been doing wrong.
Nature brings perspective
Part of your rest should involve spending time in nature. Humans take their lives hilariously seriously—the way some people live, you’d think they believe they’re immortal. Spending time in nature reminds you how small we all are in this whole giant universe and human timeline. That has a very calming effect that can make you stress the small setbacks a bit less.
Travel brings perspective
Other cultures often have ways of looking at things that we could really benefit from. A global mind is a successful one. The more you travel, the more you can put your finger on the pulse of humanity…as a whole. You can be in touch with what people around the world—not just in your community—respond to. That certainly puts you ahead of the game.
Depression doesn’t birth success
If you’re not resting then you’re not spending time with loved ones and if you’re not spending time with loved ones, you’ll wind up depressed. Humans need relationships and connection to get the hormones and brain chemicals important to our survival. Without those, you’ll feel depressed, and then you’ll really struggle to succeed.
You need to communicate with your audience
Whether you’re an artist, business owner, or salesperson, you need to be in touch with your audience and customer base. You don’t learn what people want and what people respond to by reading books or surrounding yourself with other business owners/sales people. You learn what people want by spending time with them.
You need to clean your home
Another thing you should do when you rest is tidy up your home. This can be very therapeutic and de-clutter your mind. If you go, go, go, then you probably have piles of dishes and clothes lying around. When your home is in disarray it can feel like your life is, and that affects your performance at work.
You need to make better meals
If you don’t take a break to clean you probably don’t take a break to grocery shop and cook, but you should. There’s no way the food from that drive-thru or vending machine is giving your brain the nutrients it needs to stay strong, alert, and creative. Take the time to make wholesome meals.
You need to know what the competition is up to
You might be working away like a little busy bee, entirely unaware of the fact that somebody else is doing the same thing as you…or has already accomplished it. Take time every week to stop working, sit down, and read a bit about what’s been happening in your industry.
You need to tend to your home life
You can’t just neglect your personal life. Your spouse or partner isn’t going to wait around for you to finally have time for a relationship. This is his life too. And if your partner leaves you because you neglect him for work, you’ll realize just how quickly that relationship was to your success (and overall life, of course). You’ll be so devastated that you won’t be able to work. So where did all that neglecting your partner get you?
You’ll work faster when you get back
After working nonstop for a while, your brain just slows down. It takes you longer to process information, to type an email, to gather your thoughts and have a logical conversation. If you rest, you’ll work faster when you return.
You’ll be a better decision maker
If you aren’t rested, your decision-making skills take a hit. All your hard work could be for nothing if you hire the wrong assistant, go with the wrong investor, or invest in the wrong thing, all because you were sleep-deprived.