I’ve never been too good at sitting still, a trait that earned me the well deserved childhood nickname of Wild Man, a trait that garners a “paybacks are a b!+<#” from my parents and siblings as my kids literally bounce from wall to wall. 

 

Although I knew I needed to relax and take time off, and recognized how much more clearly I saw problems afterwards, I always felt guilty and wasteful not being productive…until I found a way to mentally trick myself into taking some time off. 

 

In professional sports, the line between being the best in the world and being just a really good player is incredibly fine…but the difference in fame and fortune is incredibly vast. 

 

A study of some of the top tennis players in the world showed the best did something better than the really good…but it had nothing to do with how they hit the ball or moved their feet. 

 

The best were actually better at doing nothing, at resting between points. The best built more effective recovery strategies between points allowing their heart and respiration rates to make bigger drops. In between a single point it doesn’t make much of a difference but over the course of a couple hundred point match, the gap grows and often decides who wins and who loses. Who makes millions and who talks about what might have been. 

 

Here is the mental jujitsu I pull off on myself to get me to rest (a little more often), even though I know exactly what I’m doing to myself:

 

Instead of rest being the absence of work, I look at those times as periods of active recovery, as times when I am being productively unproductive. 

 

Like those elite tennis players, I continue searching for and implementing optimal active recovery strategies. Things that work for me: listening to a fiction audiobook, afternoon movie at the theatre by myself, even exercising—I know, I know…that may not make your list, but that’s the point. Everyone’s are different. 

 

What could be on your list of active recovery strategies? 

What could be the things you can be productively unproductive at doing?

 

Consistently building in these periods of rest may not make a difference in any one specific day but will undoubtedly determine if you will win or lose the marathon race of successfully and healthfully running your business.  

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