For many Christmas and New Year is a time for rest. Phew! Thank goodness for that. If you feel like you’re working harder than ever maybe you need one. And if you think next year is going to be harder again then you’d better get a plan in place for keeping it up.
A plan for working harder
So what does that mean? It means focusing as much on recovering from your effort as you do on your effort! If you’re working long hours then it makes sense to be able to switch off quickly to make the most of the precious hours you’ve got left. If you’re working pretty intensely then it means factoring in a longer rest to allow yourself to recharge.
Three steps to take
- Make sure you’ve got your head around that rest and recovery isn’t just a nice to have. It’s an essential ingredient if you want to perform at your best. We know elite athletes who compete on it (if I rest and recover better than my opponents it will help me to outperform them). You may not be able to get your perfect rest and recovery, but at least set out to get as best as you can.
- Work back from the performance demand. This means truly understanding the physical energy demands of what you do. And that includes the life you lead in and out of work. Is that demand greater at certain times of the year? Is it greater at certain times of the month or week? Is it constant, variable or predictable? Understanding the energy demands enables you to plan your recovery better.
- Get a plan in place to recover your energy. This could be daily, weekly, monthly or annual recovery. Having a starting point that prioritises and manages one of the most very basic functions of the human mind and body ie rest, is becoming an essential for many people who are already working hard and anticipate having to work harder. Keep your plan simple, apply common sense and review the difference it makes for you.
The world is against you!
The world is encouraging us to be busier. We have the internet, 24 hour TV, more light after dark, global communications and an increasing number of competing leisure activities. These mean there are more and more distractions from resting, including your sleep.
So focus on this part of your performance as much as any other. Your energy is as important as your knowledge and your skills.
And remember, rest and recovery is for life, not just for Christmas.