How Resting Lets You Get More Done

by AHB on November 16

in Uncategorized

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Some years ago I was reading the lifestyle blog Brocante Home. She kept mentioning someone called FlyLady. Curiosity piqued I finally looked up this FlyLady person. Turns out she’s a lifestyle blogger whose focus is on how to organize your home life. She says her best friend is a timer. Using a timer is frequently invoked as the way to get things done. Set the timer, for 2, 5 or 15 minutes, and voila! your life gets reclaimed from chaos. One of these chaos-taming-timer-using practices is known as “crisis cleaning“.

During crisis cleaning the timer is set for 15 minutes and for those 15 minutes you focus on a single task. The timer goes off and you switch to a new task for 15 minutes. The timer goes off again, new 15 minute block, new task. Now it’s been 45 minutes of working on tasks, when the timer next goes off, you set it once more for 15 minutes, only this time your task is to rest.

It sounded like a fun experiment, so on my next cleaning day I used the method. Voila! it worked.

Fast forward another few years. It occurred to me to try using the 15-minutes-per-task-rest-15-minutes-out-of-every-60-minutes method to help me get things done on syncopal days. Those days when I’m not actually needing to be bedridden, but, oh, so close to full on collapse. Only going for 45 minutes at a time was too much so I changed the rest period from 15 minutes to 5 minutes and put a rest after each task. It’s the 15/5 technique and works like so:

Set timer. 15 minutes.
Activity (e.g. Prep food.)
Set timer. 5 minutes.
Rest.
Set timer. 15 minutes.
Activity (e.g. Continue prepping food. Move on tidying the living room.)
Set timer. 5 minutes.
Rest.
Set timer. 15 minutes.
Activity (e.g. Continue tidying living room. Sort through mail.)
Set timer. 5 minutes.
Rest.

Thus passes an hour of time.

What makes it work is true rest. This isn’t me sitting down to do a “sit down task” like checking email. This is truly trying to rest. I may sit or I may lie down. Sometimes I drink herbal tea (prepped during the previous 15 minutes). Or I do a simple breathing technique. Or lazily stroke a cat. Frequently I’ll want to shrug/roll my shoulders to release tension.

I’ll use this technique for exercise. Setting the timer on my phone for 15 minutes and taking a walk. When the timer goes off I’ll find a spot to rest for 5 minutes before going back home (or continuing the walk). Or perform moon salutations for 15 minutes followed by a 5 minute rest in savasana.

The practice helps prevent electromagnetic field fatigue. I am sensitive to EMFs and the fatigue from too much screen time can turn a good day to a syncopal day, and a syncopal day into a bedridden day. The 15/5 technique reduces that likelihood. Taking a full break from whatever electronic device I’m working with every 15 minutes helps a lot.

It’s also helpful when running errands. Admittedly I rarely take a break every 15 minutes if out and about. However, since I’ve used the 15/5 technique in other situations I can tell when I’m beginning to really tire and I know to take the time to fully rest for a few minutes.

Sometimes your health is just poor. Perhaps you’ve been pushing yourself for too many days, or you’re under the weather, or you’re recovering from a bout of being bedridden. For those days I recognize the need for more rest. I’ll take a full 15 min or one hour rest. Again it’s important that it be a true rest. Sometimes it turns into a nap or going to bed early.

Ultimately I like the technique because it gives me a way to get at least something accomplished; yet, without pushing myself so far that I’m going to make my health worse.

Try it. You may find you get more done.

 

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