Winning Words

Getting the proper rest keeps us at our best


Whether we find ourselves setting the pace for the race, or just trying to keep the pace, we should always find time to give our mind and body a little rest.

Some of you have shared that these past several months have given you a chance to slow down, get back into forgotten hobbies or start new ones. Spending more quality time with friends and family. And others have shared that they have never been busier and that their mental stress and physical fatigue have never been higher with little or no time to take a breather.

In a bigger, faster, harder, go go go, world, sometimes we get so wrapped up in trying to keep up, we forget to take care of ourselves along the way. We schedule more meetings or calls than we can fit into our day. We squeeze more work into our already jam-packed weekends and try and justify it by saying that it “needs” to get done. Or we try and fool ourselves into believing that we are the only ones who can do it, denying our mind and body the rest we need to perform at our best.

There are many among us who live with an “early to bed and early to rise” attitude. Then again, many others have developed a habit of “late to bed and early to rise,” eroding the amount of quality rest we need to recharge the body and the mind.

Those of us who use planning tools and calendars to manage our day have found it very helpful to block off specific times in the calendar for answering emails, making calls, having meetings, research, reading, writing, workouts, and other things that fill our day. I subscribe to this habit of blocking off specific amounts of time in my calendar to make sure I am managing each day as best as I can.

That method of managing my calendar has helped to improve my productivity in all areas. What I started adding to my calendar are blocked times for rest — 15- or 30-minute blocks of time where I allow myself to take a breather, sit quietly, and just rest, giving my mind and my body a pause. And these little added moments of rest seem to inspire creativity, clarity, and vitality, energizing me for the balance of the day and into the evening.

This is not new news or revolutionary thinking. I have heard many of these suggestions before and I brushed it off thinking that I was too busy and that I needed to get things done. And then, when I heard someone talk about it one more time, it finally made sense. Hearing the results that others were experiencing, I decided that building time into my day for rest was just as important as anything else.

If we allow the rush and crush of life to consume us, at some point stress and fatigue will become the norm. The thing is this, it’s a choice we get to make. We could also choose to take our breaks when we need to, block off committed time in our crazy busy schedules to take a rest. The key word here is committed. When I first started trying to block off my calendar for moments of rest, I would see that as a discretionary time slot. That If I needed to slip in a call or a meeting, I would just override my blocked-out time of rest. But now, if it isn’t defined as important or urgent, nothing steals my time slots of rest.

How about you? Have you heard this recommendation before? Have you put into practice? If you have committed times of rest, are you seeing the benefits in how you work, live, and play? I would love to hear your story at And when we can get the rest we need, we will certainly be at our best, and that really will make it a better than good week.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

Michael Norton


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