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The most challenging is to rest

I  am currently reading two books; Peak Performance and Rest. The reason I read two is that one is an audiobook and the other one is a physical book. I read the audiobook when I’m out browsing, and the physical book when I’m going to sleep.

The common theme of the books is the importance of rest in order to perform, which also makes them very interesting to read them in parallel. Especially because they have different solutions on how to rest and why it is so important to rest. But as Brad & Steve writes in Peak Performance: Stress + Rest = Growth. Which I think sums up very well.

We live in an increasingly connected existence, where fatigue, along with depression has become a public disease, and mobile phones are a body part. Nevertheless, we are rewarding stress and many, myself included, often brag about having too much to do. Which leads to something that is pursued. It’s ”bad” to have too little to do.

Still, it’s when we shower, wash dishes or take a walk as most good ideas come. Yet we choose to focus on getting more done instead of resting.

The books I read show hundreds of examples and studies where it was found that rest is crucial to being able to perform. Nevertheless, the workaholics, like myself, have incredibly hard time taking one night off instead of working because it feels like going to do a worse job because I do not spend time. My calendar is always full and all ”unplanned” time goes to work.

And it’s just exactly where the problem lies, at least for me, how I prioritize my time. I always see a performance, no matter what; job, training, and study as an achievement, i.e. things to prioritize. There the schedule is around 98% job, 1% workout and 1% study. And other things, like cooking, cleaning, etc. as a necessary evil, as I work hard to minimize. Fun things like travel, friends, family, etc. have come to their own list of things I plan in advance when the calendar is not so full.

Thin, Japp. But then it is. So if I would change this and instead prioritize downtime and fun-time as I prioritize performance, I would get more done at work. But it is easier said than done because, unfortunately, it does not sit in the spinal cord.

Therefore, I read these books so that I will learn and understand that : Stress + Rest = Growth.  I hope that when I understand, I can do that too.

  1.  Stress +Rest =Growth

My interpretation of Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness’s definition of stress is focused work with something challenging. For an athlete, there may be a new level, technology or a new record, for a musician a song and for a workaholic a customer project. They think stress is something good, as long as it is combined with rest. To develop yourself, you need to challenge yourself and stress your ability, but you need to rest and recover to see really good results.

They have compiled studies that show e.g. that adult elite athlete can significantly increase their performance by sleeping 10 hours instead of 8 hours per night. Management consultants can deliver better results in fewer hours by taking a day off a week or just one night a week.

The catch is that by combining stress and rest, you get the best results.

  1.  See rest as part of the training (one workout)

Both athletes and management consultants (most of them) are used to stressing their ability; it is every day. The hard thing is to rest. Seeing a rest day as part of the training, an active choice, not something passive between passes. An athlete in the book said, for example, to rest is my hardest passport.

And when it came to management consultants, it was seen as an obstacle to the career of having a study that required rest.

For this kind of performance-oriented people, I think you have to turn it around and as they write: see rest as a workout. Then it may be easier to motivate and understand why you need to do that.

  1.  10 hours instead of 8 hours improved the result of elite athletes.

In the United States, you sleep on average 6.8 hours per night, even though it is recommended to be around 8. When you sleep, your brain is working to map, categorize and process what you’ve been doing during the day. You grow while you sleep, so it’s important to sleep.

Personally, I have calculated that I need at least 35 hours of sleep between Sunday and Friday. It also means that if I sleep at night because I need to get up earlier than usual or stay awake longer than usual, I’ll see straight away. This is probably the only point  that I’m good at when it comes to rest, but it’s also because it’s the most obvious to me that I’m not working if I do not.

If I do not, I know I’m going to perform worse. Therefore, I always prioritize sleep.

  1.  A power cut can give you two business days in one.

This is difficult for those who work in an office landscape, but after reading the chapter Nap Book Rest, I became a bit more keen to try it. Instead of going to have a coffee, lay your arms on the desk and fall asleep for 20 minutes or when I work at home go to bed on the sofa.

I am more convinced that they are about just daring to do it. Many workplaces have restrooms, and my belief is that these are not used very often because, in my eyes, they are something that has been used in emergency situations. For example, got sick at work. But, why not go there, set the timer for 20 minutes and take a power cut?

If you read about routines, you should also be able to create a cue to take a power cut.

In the rest book, the show had taken so far that they took a longer power cut in the middle of the day, thus allowing for two working days in one. For example, 6 hours before a power nap and 6 hours after. I have not really decided what I like. But it’s an interesting thought to understand the value of a power cut.


However, all rest is not about sleeping, but for a little while, I was able to rest by spending time with friends or disks. Soon, I’ll write a list of all the ways I read that you can rest in everyday life and those I’ve come up with myself.

But now I will rest.

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