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First Thoughts

Maybe you have no problem logging off, shutting down, and just doing nothing, but that's not me. I'm go-go-go all the time. Even on vacation, I'm reading (almost always non-fiction) or finding new spots to check out and learn about or (heaven forbid) thinking about some aspect of my job. The idea of totally disconnecting and 'relaxing' is usually short-lived, usually being replaced with other things for me to do. (You can probably tell I'm not a lay-on-the-beach-and-listen-to-the-waves kinda guy...)

But then I think about my day-to-day efforts and think about how often I'm spaced out or unfocused. On a day with marathon meetings, I might find myself completely detached from the conversations happening or, at the very least, unable to meaningfully contribute. I have only one answer: I'm out of balance.

As much as I like to fashion myself as a productivity wonk, I need to be more intentional about resting as well. There is a direct connection between rest and the quality of your work and finding the right mixture of time engaged and then time purposefully disengaged is central to the idea of doing higher quality work. (See Cal Newport's Deep Work.)

This month I wanted to focus on REST. Not  just because it's summer time and you can use this as an excuse to go stare at nature for three hours, but because summer is a natural 'reset' and time to reevaluate. Are you finding the right mix of work and rest? Could your work actually refresh and rejuvenate you when mixed with the right kinds and amounts of rest? 

Read on...

Reader's Digest

Eat Move Sleep

Tom Rath


  • Specific, strategic plans for helping you to eat better, move more, and rest well. (and how those three things can work together so well!)
  • Getting less than 6 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep per night is the #1 indicator of job burnout
    • 90 minutes of sleep loss cuts your productivity and creativity by one-third (WOW!)
  • We've all heard the axiom about getting a good night's sleep before a big presentation or test, but really, the learning and preparation was happening all along. Getting quality sleep in the weeks and months prior is the real key.
  • Use product-placement at home. Visual cues can help you make better subconscious decisions.
    • What are the ways we can use our surroundings to influence/nudge our decisions?
  • 20 minutes of moderate activity will boost your mood for up to 12 hours, burn fat and glucose, and provide extra brain power and creativity
  • Replacing 1 hour of TV with 1 hour of sleep can lead to 14 lbs of weight loss (and incidentally, weight loss also leads to better quality of sleep)

Key Quotes:

“Once your brain initially processes something, you are less likely to retain the information if you are not physically active in the period following this learning. If you learn then move, you will have more effective recall when you need it most."

"Measurement itself creates improvement." (On the importance of tracking your food intake, movement/steps, and sleep.)


I have been using LoseIt! for the past 7 years, tracking everything I eat. In the first 6 months of use, tracking my food intake helped me lose 53 lbs. Now, I look at the trend lines and make sure I am on target both in terms of weight as well as intake. I also recently switched from a Nike FuelBand to a FitBit. The addition of sleep tracking has been invaluable, helping me to understand the relationship between time in bed vs. quality sleep. (Something I'm working on now.)

Around the Web

To Stay on Schedule, Take a Break

Phyllis Korkki

I mean, it's research. You can't argue with science! The human body was meant to move. Ever notice how your mind wanders after long, uninterrupted work stretches? Or how fidgety you get in meetings? It's probably time for a break.

Key Quote:

"Long hours don’t mean good work — highly efficient, productive work is more valuable and frequent breaks promote that."


Related read: 

'Thinking' vs. 'Doing' (and you can only do one!)


How to Escape the Busyness Trap

Unstuck Community 

"Hey, how are you?"
"So busy."
"Oh yeah, me too."

That's got to end, folks. Busy is a crutch. It's a shield. A scapegoat, even. It's time to trim some things from your life and stop being so busy! Here's how. 

Key Quote:

"The reward of busyness comes from outside of us — there’s always someone or something that needs us — and that means we’re dependent on them to keep the rewards coming.

The reward of pausing, of reflecting on occasion, comes from within us, and it’s nothing more or less than being true to ourselves — which is where the core of happiness resides."

Related read:

Why You're 'So Busy' but Not Getting Anything Done

Just for fun:

Because you can only cycle through Facebook-Twitter-Instagram so many times... 51 Ideas for Taking a Break at Work

And one of my new favorites that isn't listed... Idea for use: when you get Cena'd, it's time to get up and take a quick walk.

Bonus idea:

When appropriate, try finding a gif or meme that expresses your feelings. The /giphy integration in Slack is a great way to add some levity and give your brain a small break.

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