How often do we forget that rest is a part of the creative process? I’m not just talking about physical rest but taking time away from our work for a moment or even a few months so that we can actually enjoy the process of making.
Last Saturday at Art Party I had the pleasure of having a profound yet simple lesson shake its way down my spinal chord–“We don’t need more passion, we need more rest”. Thankyou Buddy Wakefield you legend and healer. He was referring to the mentality that a lot of creative people have towards working harder, longer and faster in order to increase productivity, output and profit. Some people may fool you into thinking that your love for your vocation is measured by how relentlessly you do it, but isn’t providing yourself with the nourishment that you need a greater act of self-love and respect?
We need to remember to be kind to ourselves when we’re cracking the whip too hard and not buy into the idea that a life with no time for sleep, exercise, leisure, family and friends is the formula for success.
It’s quite a destructive idea that success can only be achieved, and loyalty can only be gauged by how HARD we work.
Throughout college or uni you’ll find people wearing their all-nighter stats like a badge of honour; in ad agencies the world-over you can bet that getting out of the studio before 6pm is taboo; and on every tech blog and LinkedIn “business” column you’ll be fed the idea that the Silicon Valley mentality of “no-life-just-work” is the formula for success. Steve Jobs, their gifted poster boy died at age 56. His body shut down as a result of this treatment.
Get on up and stretch! Take a flirt break. Get a cup of peppermint tea. Go for a walk OUTSIDE (yes you’re allowed outside even if everybody else eats their lunch at their desk). Please do take time off when you finish your degree, and go for soul-enriching holidays when you’ve been in the thick of it for a while. You will only bring more joy to the act of creation and the people you work with. Here is your permission to rest.
Ways to get more rest
1. Look for employers that value work-life balance
Ask what the average office hours are to your interviewer when looking for work. This way you’ll know whether they emphasise a sustainable approach towards business and employee retention.
2. Take breaks every hour to 90 minutes
You’re more productive when you work in short bursts rather then sitting down for endless hours, so get up and have a dance break when the time is right.
3. Start your day with a realistic to-do list
If you don’t have a goal then you can’t score
As a junior you may constantly feel like you’re working from a catch up position because you may not be familiar with how long tasks take you to do. Why not start the day by writing a to-do list that YOU think is achievable. Try allocating time to each task and see how you are tracking during the day. It’s good practice for setting clearer and more achievable expectations for your project managers and co-workers. Just remember that some days we are incredibly productive and others not so.
4. Take proper lunch breaks at work, even if everyone else doesn’t
This will help with your productivity, the quality of your ideas and you’ll have more energy in general. No one wants to be slumped behind their computer for 8+ hours a day feeling like they could fall asleep.
5. Listen to your body
When thoughts are flying through your head at light speed it’s difficult to remember to breathe and release any sort of tension in your body. Take a moment to feel the breath entering and leaving your diaphragm. Let it go all the way in. It will help slow down your thoughts and give you the pause from lifting that problem so your brain can refocus.
6. Don’t take your work to bed with you
Obsessing over something when you should be resting will not help you solve that brief. It’s a bit like those dreams that you have early in the morning where you’re getting ready for work and wake up only to realise that despite all of that sleep thinking, you did nothing. Write down whatever the problem is that you want to solve and get some proper rest.
7. Stop being such a perfectionist
You will not lose your job if you forgot to kern that “o” a little closer to that “v”. Let it go.