You have probably heard the following story about two men in a competition to see who can chop down the most trees but it’s always good to be reminded of the important things in life.
I read this recently in Word for Today and it reminded me why I am achieving more with less effort and as a result I have more energy and more peace in my life.
Who would win?
“A competition was held between two men to see who could chop down the most trees in a single day. One man was older and more experienced, while the other was younger and less experienced. And that’s where the difference showed up.
The younger man spent eight hours chopping down trees, and at the end of the day he had a total of twenty-five. Believing the older man lacked stamina and youth, he sat down, fully confident he would win.
Meanwhile the older man, who had taken a ten-minute break each hour, ended his day by chopping down forty trees. In shock the younger man asked, ‘How is this possible, old man?
I didn’t stop. You stopped every hour for ten minutes and yet you chopped down almost twice as many trees as I did.’
The older man replied, ‘Every hour I sat down for ten minutes and did two things. First, I took time to rest and recharge my batteries. Second, I took time to sharpen my axe. Yes, you were working hard but you were working with a dull axe.’
There’s an important lesson here for you. In order to succeed in life, you must always do these two things:
1) Make time for rest and renewal. You cannot always be giving out; you must also stop and take in.
2) Stay sharp. When your axe is dull it requires more energy and produces fewer results.
So take time to rest and sharpen.”
Rest and recovery
Today I am going to focus on the rest part of this story.
Rest and recovery are critical to living a healthy, happy life. If you are someone who doesn’t stop to rest and recover you are actually achieving less with more effort. This is because you are exhausted and therefore less creative with less energy.
Every task you attempt takes longer because you are tired. You are less creative and your mind wanders from the task in hand. Your energy level is lower, so you achieve less.
When you regularly rest your energy levels go up and you achieve more in less time. It seems counter intuitive, but it is reality. By resting throughout the day, you will achieve more in less time.
This didn’t seem possible
When I first came across this idea I couldn’t accept this as I felt guilty resting when I should be working. So I would carry on through my lunch and then in the afternoon when I was feeling particularly tired I would drink caffeine drinks to pick me up and I would simply push through to the end of the day with brute force.
When I now look back I realise that those last few hours of the day were basically a waste of time. I simply went through the motions of trying to get things done but I was struggling with emails, with thinking, with energy, with enjoyment and fulfillment in what I was doing.
Things have changed
Now things have changed, I rest properly during the day, and I don’t feel guilty doing so. I rest for 10-15 minutes in the morning and then I have a proper lunch break. I rest mid afternoon and then maybe around 5pm so I can have good energy to finish the day at around 6.30pm.
The difference this has made is remarkable. I have energy throughout the day and the energy I have in that last hour is amazing. I strongly suggest that if you are not resting regularly during the day then experiment with this.
I achieve more in less time
I can honestly say that I achieve at least 100% more per hour when I have high energy than when my energy is low. This has revolutionised my life. I don’t feel guilty taking short breaks or a longer lunch break because I know that I will achieve more this way then the old ‘push through to the end with brute force’ philosophy.
My days are far more productive, I enjoy them more and I have a great sense of peace and achievement at the end of each day. I highly recommend you give this a go.
Thoughts for the week:
- Do you rest enough each day?
- Do you have a proper lunch break?
- This week experiment by taking a proper lunch break and mini breaks throughout the day.
- Observe how you feel and how your energy levels increase when you do this.
Well that’s it for this week. Have a wonderful weekend and rest well.