It's Time You Gave It A Rest
September 10, 2012 • comment(s)
I recently watched the film, “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” starring Sarah Jessica Parker and even though it flopped in the box office, one scene in particular stuck out to me. Parker’s character Kate is trying to sleep unsuccessfully and says, "A recent study showed that women…don't sleep through the night. Researchers were at a loss to explain why. They could have asked me. Instead of sleeping, I do ‘The List.’"
Her character goes on to mentally rattle off all the things she needs to do the next day: her children’s birthday party, that meeting with her boss, her husband’s dry cleaning…etc. And it makes me wonder how many women are reduced to making midnight mental checklists just so they can stay on top of their busy lives. More importantly, how often to do we overlook the fact that we need to simply find the time to truly rest and analyze if we’re working smart or just working?
Our capitalistic culture rewards productivity and most times it would almost seem that the busier you are, the better you are seemingly doing in your life. We almost feel guilty and overindulgent for taking time off for ourselves. But we really shouldn’t feel that way. In fact, rest is necessary to productivity.
“The ability to relax the tension of work is as important as the power of concentration; for the two processes combine in the doing of the highest kind of work,” writes Hamilton Wright Mabie, Essays on Work and Culture.
When my business partner and I started our company, I would literally sleep with my laptop next to me. I’d wake up through the night in a sudden panic remembering the things that needed to be done and sometimes would actually start working even though it was three-thirty in the morning. However, that didn’t last long as my body started revolting and I saw my mood and quality of work suffering. Now, I make it a point to shut off all my electronics by 8 P.M. I find that I not only get more done but that I’m a happier and more creative person just by making that little change.
“Activity is not necessarily work; it is often motion without direction, progress or productiveness; mere waste of energy,” Hamilton Wright Mabie.
And how true is that statement? One way to practically apply that concept is to try not to do everything in one day. Focus on accomplishing two major things for that day and do them to the best of your ability and the rest can wait until tomorrow. It will not only help increase your performance but you’ll have enough energy for the long haul.
Most importantly, I think we need to remember to celebrate every so often. Women do a lot and take care of everyone in our lives and often times we neglect ourselves. But make yourself a priority and you’ll most certainly see the difference. Here’s to no more midnight checklists and more rest!
About Kimberly S. Lin: a California native, graduated from UC Irvine with a degree in Economics. After college, she moved to Los Angeles and worked as a financial writer and hedge fund analyst but always dreamed of becoming a women's literature writer. Utilizing her experiences, she tells stories that are witty, heartwarming and relatable to the modern woman. Her debut novel, Recession Proof was published June 2011. She now resides in Orange County, CA and is working on her second novel.