As alluring as it sounds, bingeing Netflix all day can be harmful. It could actually make you feel more anxious, tired, or whatever emotion stopped you from getting your work done. Rest is about rejuvenation and recuperation so you can be more successful – not so you can do nothing and hope for the best.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes doing absolutely nothing is precisely what you need. It’s just not all that you need and doing too much of it will cause harm over good in the long run. I learned this lesson from my Olympian track and field coach while a varsity athlete at Yale. But it wasn’t until I founded my first business (I talk about this in our About page) did I see just how applicable the lesson – the 3 kinds of strategic rests every athlete needs – is to the entrepreneurship world.
Rest 1: Active rest
The premise of active rest is simple: it’s the things that make the things you need to do easier.
Wordy, right? Let me explain.
Let’s say you need to hit the phones and make 100 phone calls to potential customers. Getting on the phone may be a daunting task, not to mention time consuming. Whether you’re burnt out, scared, or something else, you find you just can’t pick up that phone. But you have to be productive.
This is where active rest comes in. Active rest is all about unblocking mental blockers and facilitating your work.
In the phone example, the thing you have to do is pick up the phone and call customers. The things that make the thing you have to do easier would be things like:
- Researching phone numbers of prospects
- Building a bigger list from 100 to 200, just in case a few don’t pick up
- Writing / rehearing your call script
- Asking for feedback or reading articles on how to close a sale from a cold call
Whether it’s increasing your education, your “infrastructure” or building a system so the main input of your task becomes automated, active rest is all about facilitating your work.
Active rest comes with the major downside that, at the end of the day, it’s fake productivity. Sure, you made a list of 200 leads to call, but you haven’t called any of them. You feel deeply productive and potentially spent hours doing it, but you haven’t actually accomplished your core business needs. It’s easy to leverage these tasks as excuses for not doing what you really need to do, so it’s best to keep this to 10-15% of your working hours (5-10 hours a week) so you reap the benefits but don’t get sucked in.