Productivity: How Switching Off Can Help Move Entrepreneurs Closer to Their Goals
As an entrepreneur in this century, you are likely connected to your devices most of the time. Checking emails, writing proposals, and managing clients, all require the use of technology meant to be helpful and reduce time and energy spent on tasks.
But using your laptop, cellphone or tablet too often can also lead to burnout and deplete your energy. Studies have shown that the increase of LCD time and blue light exposure over time can lead to higher levels of stress, anxiety, and even insomnia in most adults.
It’s important to have some time away from screens completely to restore balance to the ratio of red to blue light humans need to function at the highest productivity levels.
Disconnecting, spending time in nature, and getting natural sunlight exposure will help to restore this balance even faster.
It’s Okay to Ignore the Little Things
Most apps and browser notifications have minimal urgency — turn them off completely, or selectively for something like banking apps or other high priority items.
Silence everything but phone calls, and then only select priority numbers. If you’re expecting a call, you will likely notice it come through, or you can set the alarm to allow all call volume for a specified period of time.
Allow yourself some breathing room and watch your focus and productivity soar. You can always come back and check everything you “missed” once you miss it.
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, then you may have a hard time getting and staying productive. That’s partly because you find ideas everywhere. While it’s great to have so many ideas during the start-up phase, new ideas can keep you from completing tasks […]
About the Author
Lisa Parmley writes about how to start and scale an online course business. She launched her first training business in 2001 and has successfully run it for the last 19 years. She offers course creator interviews and shares her 6-figure tips at coursemethod.com.
I’d love to invite you just to reflect for a minute and ask yourself this question can you remember the last time you woke up in the morning went into your bathroom looked in the mirror and thought to yourself wow I feel fresh motivated inspired and rested chances are if you’re like most people I talk to that is a rare memory and rather they spend most of their lives feeling depleted I’m here to tell you we are facing an epidemic a life-threatening brain paralyzing heart destroying condition I call the doing disease the perennial incessant need to keep doing keep moving keep achieving French philosopher Blaise Pascal said all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone as someone who has suffered extensively from this doing disease I can tell you I was terrified of being still of being quiet and of being alone I was afraid of not having an agenda or a goal or of being out of control the good news is there is a cure and it’s not something that only some of us can have access to or even something all that new it’s called rest a seemingly simple concept and yet I would argue it is radically countercultural incredibly life-changing and tremendously performance enhancing I’ve been on a profound personal journey the last few years exploring this idea of rest and recently completed my Master’s researching the impact of rest on the performance of leaders the world is a siren call the world is calling from you more more more honestly even just ready quote stresses me out but this quote is one that came from the hundreds of interviews and surveys I did with leaders from a diverse range of industries fifty-three percent of people responded that they do not factor rest into their weekly schedule the main barriers that they identified was that they feel guilty they don’t know how to they can’t switch off their mind and disconnect from technology and that they actually are just simply overcommitted in every aspect of their life sixty-two percent of people said that their workplace cultures actually don’t value or a negative towards the very notion of rest so I talked about rest people think well that’s great you’re encouraging me to sleep more maybe take some more vacations and don’t get me wrong sleep is terrific and it’s a really important part of this conversation and who doesn’t love a great vacation but truth is I think rest is so much more than just this from an academic perspective i define dressed as the renewing of one’s depleted physical emotional mental and spiritual reserves it’s about deep internal renewal that occurs to our whole self the physical and mental side but the emotional and spiritual part of us also from a personal perspective I really come to understand rest as being a space away from doing from people-pleasing from competing from performing from controlling it’s a space where I have the freedom to choose where I’m going to invest my energy and I find it to be a starting place a place I can actually move out of into the world so you might ask why does any of this matter and I think we only have to watch a day’s worth of news to recognize that our world is crying out for more unifying more inspiring more sustainable and more impactful leadership and let’s be honest leadership is demanding it is a hard slog it’s a hard log that inflicts wounds and injuries and often leads to burnout and whether you carry a title or not I think whether when you’re leading well whether it be as a mom or a dad a student a scientist a teacher a nurse a consultant a coach a president a commanding officer or simply as a friend when you are leading well you are giving of yourself emotionally spiritually physically and mentally and whenever you’re giving of yourself you need a corresponding season or space to actually refuel and replenish what’s been taken out of you I think we need to stop applauding leaders who are working 18 hours a day and who are burnt out and start promoting and encouraging and affirming a culture of rest we need to slow down in order to speed up I know this might sound crazy but we need to slow down in order to accelerate I think in Western culture we pride ourselves on being busy and yet interestingly in the Chinese language the word busy is made up of two parts the first word is for the word heart and the second is for the word killing or perishing now this might not be fully linguistically correct but just think about this for a minute heart and killing or killing heart when we are busy when we have that doing disease when we’re running fast we are literally killing our hearts we are killing the very essence the inner part of our being I’ve learnt that I just can’t be all things to all people always and I find it so fascinating that we’re called human beings and yet honestly I think so many of us treat ourselves like human doings Mahatma Ghandi said there has to be more to life than simply increasing its speed I think athletes get this concept of rest more than most Michael Jordan arguably one of America’s greatest ever athletes in his career used to average 30 eight minutes a game on court playing and ten minutes a game on the bench resting for more modern day fans Steph Curry currently has spent 34 minutes a game on the court and 14 minutes a game on the bench resting athletes get this idea that they need to have an on season and an off season and they need to cultivate this rhythm of resting training competing resting training competing and they realize that both work and activity and rest and renewal are both necessary for sustained high performance so how did I end up here talking about rest because honestly many of my friends would have laughed a couple of years ago had they known but at the age of 16 I started my first business at the age of 20 I co-founded my second a non-profit social enterprise along the way I played five different sports at a state level yes I had a potassium overdose from eating too many bananas but I went onto University and I studied politics and then I went on to study law I was an obsessed high achiever my identity was completely absorbed by what I was doing I was addicted I was addicted to people-pleasing I was addicted to the praise that people would give me from from the success I was addicted to this need to achieve honestly I’m not sure the world thought I thought was that great but I’m sure in my own head I thought I was pretty great but during my 20s the second company grew pretty rapidly and we scaled it nationally and I had the privilege and it was an immense privilege to lead an amazing team together as a team we worked with more than 185 thousand young people across Australia I spent ten years pouring absolutely everything into it I was finding however that the more successful I was becoming in the eyes of the world the more depressed and alienated and miserable I was becoming I was incredibly busy doing but I was killing my heart somewhere in there I had a pretty traumatic event occur I was traveling for work when I was attacked by a guy with a knife when I was sound asleep in a hotel room as you can imagine this was sort of one of those moments where life flashes before your eyes and miraculously physically I was able to escape relatively unscathed but emotionally and mentally it took a much bigger toll I didn’t know what to do so within a week I returned to work because I thought leaders needed to be strong and be resilient so I just ran harder and harder and harder sometimes during the next year I ended up in KITT Kim Uganda and while I was there sort of had this profound moment where I recognized that change was needed in my life I had to stop running so I made the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life which is to walk away from the company all in the hope of finding freedom this was June 2014 and I arrived at Sydney Airport thinking I would take a 19 day adventure before returning home and starting the next chapter of my life and as I walked through the departure gates at Sydney Airport I suddenly fell on the ground in the fetal position and started crying uncontrollably I had no idea what was going on I had never experienced anything like it I somehow scrambled and got on the plane I was the last passenger on the plane and I cried the entire way from Sydney to Los Angeles I didn’t eat I didn’t sleep I didn’t even get to enjoy the movies I just cried the entire way and that’s about 15 hours from Sydney to Los Angeles the air crew had no idea what to do with me I had no idea what to do with me when I landed I realised I wasn’t okay and long story short in typical Australian fashion I ended up on the doorstep of some friends of some friends in Annapolis Maryland here in the United States and here began the most radical year of my life of learning to rest in my friends backyard in Annapolis thanks to their generosity I would wake up every morning and spend somewhere between 1 and 4 hours first thing sitting here in their in their chairs in the backyard as I would sit there started out being summer and I would walk out wearing t-shirts and shorts and then it got a lot of look older and I started layering up a little bit and then I experienced something I’d never experienced as Australian and when to hit and I walked outside you know looking like Michelin Man carrying wearing ten layers carrying three blankets and sitting out there and – degree temperatures and snow and I know it seemed crazy to most and honestly at times it seemed crazy to me but as I did this something profound began to occur in my life something profound began to occur in my heart as I sat in the chair and watched the seasons come and the seasons go I experienced that a restorative power of rest it truly was a spiritual awakening for the first time in my life my identity was not in doing or being busy but it was just in being and it was incredible as I sat there i realized i was able to heal from things that had hurt me I was able to forgive you know people that had hurt me in my life the guide who has salted me myself I was able to reflect on my journey and gain perspective from you know the good the bad and the ugly I examined my heart I was able to reflect on what are the things I should be grateful for and apologize for things that maybe I wish I’d done differently as I sat there the big questions of life began to boil up for me you know who am i why am I here and for the first time I wasn’t afraid of them my identity was completely reang curd in that stillness in that silence in that solitude what I cared about fundamentally changed in rest I found healing I found truth and I found freedom and I think I grew as a leader as a woman and as a friend I became more humble more authentic and more myself and more whole as a result of that process and I found those things just simply were not happening in my life when I was running at a thousand miles an hour having now returned to the workplace and being in an environment that does have a lot going on I find I can still cultivate a daily and weekly rhythm of rest in my life that continues to be the birthplace for me of creativity of restoration of perspective of courage and of hope so this was my story but what about the lives of other leaders what packed his rest had on them well as a result of my research those that it engaged in a prolonged period of rest all said it had a significant increase on their leadership performance and it came in three main buckets for impact on themselves they said they were able to have a lot more purpose and clarity they were able to have a lot more creativity they made decisions more effectively and prioritize more effectively they were more honest and more integrity had more integrity in the way they were living their lives they were less stressed and reactive and they asked better questions on others they found they valued their relationships a lot more both personally and professed professionally they were more humble they were more gentle genuine and they were more gentle with people and on their workplaces they were able to build more empowered and confident teams and start shifting the culture from one being based on hours worked to being based on productivity learning to rest requires practice it’s really about developing and cultivating daily and weekly small habits in our lives I’m not encouraging you to take a radical year of rest like I did although I wouldn’t talk you out of it but I do think it is something we can actually start cultivating today tomorrow when you’re driving to work rather than making a phone call or turning on your radio just sit in silence just let your mind and your heart wander the next time you’re on a plane or a train or you’re the first person to a meeting or to a restaurant just sit be observant do not pick up your phone try going for a long leisurely walk I used to walk around a field with a friend hour after hour after hour or tonight when you get home from TEDx take 10 or 15 minutes and just reflect on the day that you’ve had what are you thankful for what would you have done differently what have you learned from the experience I think fear is what stops us having the courage to rest fear of falling behind fear of letting other people down fear of not getting praise from the world and fear of coming face-to-face with ourselves rest needs to be fought for this is a battle and it’s a battle worth fighting we have to fight the lie that being busy and doing all the time is actually an inspiring act we have to fight for rest and it’s a battle worth fighting for ourselves and it’s a battle worth fighting for each other rest has the power to change ourselves our leadership and our lives thank you very much
Bec Heinrich studies, develops, coaches and consults to leaders of all ages. In this talk she shares about how the disease of busyness is corroding our lives and why rest is critical for inspiring and sustainable leadership.
Bec explores how rest transformed her life and leadership, and from her research, shares about the impact of rest on people’s performance.
About Bec Heinrich
Bec Heinrich is the CEO of Rising Generations. A nonprofit social enterprise committed to building leaders who put PEOPLE BEFORE PROGRESS!
Bec has degrees in politics and law from Macquarie University in Sydney, has studied social entrepreneurship and innovation at Stanford University and recently completed a master’s in leadership at Georgetown University.
Her thesis was on the impact of rest on the performance of leaders, inspired after she took a year-long sabbatical to learn how to slow down in order to speed up.
Silicon Valley futurist and business consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang dispels the myth that the harder we work the better the outcome. “Deliberate rest,” as Pang calls it, is the true key to productivity, and will give us more energy, sharper ideas, and a better life. | Learn more…