Summer is probably my favourite time of the year. Most businesses and corporate organisations wind down activities and educational institutions take a well-deserved break. As a small business owner or team leader, it is certainly a good time to take a restful vacation and allow automated processes you have hopefully put into place keep your business or team ticking over until the end of the summer holidays.

Resting well is just as important as working hard because it is during this time that replenishment and re-energising happen in preparation for the next period of activity. As human beings we sometimes think that if we stopped for one moment, everything around us would come to a standstill.  Well, perhaps I exaggerate and no one is quite that naïve, but many of us often act like we believe this.  We think that we have to justify building in some rest time into our busy schedules. We feel guilty when we take a break in the middle of piles of work screaming for attention.   We forget that activity does not always equate to productivity.  You can spend a lot of time doing things that don’t produce the desired results.  You could be very busy and still have nothing to show for your frenzied activity.

Now please don’t get me wrong.  I am not advocating laziness.  Far from it. Success is often the reward of hard work.  Lazy people have dreams but can’t be bothered to pursue those dreams.  The end result is that those dreams remain just that – dreams.  They never become reality.  Successful people are often people who have pursued their dreams with focus, hard work and perseverance.  Successful people also know when to work and when to play (or rest.)  Otherwise they could end up overworked, stressed and invariably, their health eventually affected.

In my book 10 Days to Reduce Your Stress, (available at http://www.reach-coaching.com/books-online-tools/), I write that: “we can learn to reduce the stress in our lives on a continual basis so that we never ever get to the point where we feel overwhelmed.  It is possible to have a life that is “bad” stress-free”.  Part of learning to do this is to be intentional about building in times of rest into our busy schedules.  This is made even easier if we use the natural rhythms of life as a basis for doing this.  Summer is a time when the kids are on vacation, most people take their annual holiday, and a considerable number of companies are not operating at their fullest capacity.  It is therefore a good time to build in lots of rest periods.  Resting does not have to mean complete inactivity.  You can use this time to take stock of where you are currently, realign yourself to your goals, and look at what changes you need to make in order to stay on top of your game.

What are some of the things that you can do to help you achieve this healthy balance of resting and staying alert and focused? Here are a few tips that work for me:

  1. Build fun things into your working schedule.  Do things that you find enjoyable, activities that you know will refresh you emotionally, physically or spiritually.  For me those activities often include walking, reading and spending time with friends and family.
  2. Rest more.  Rest fully.  You don’t need an excuse to rest – your body was built to need it.  Sometimes you need to make a determined effort to ignore some things for a period and just relax.  Its harder for some than others but it is possible to rest even in the midst of a ‘storm’.
  3. Commit to reading one or two books that are motivating and inspiring. (I particularly find autobiographies or biographies of people who have overcome difficulties quite helpful).  Last month I recommended the book, The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz to my business-networking group.  It’s a great book and one you’ll be referring to long after you have read it.  I would also recommend my newest book Breakout, Finding Significance and Purpose in your Everyday Living.
  4. Spend more time with loved ones. Top up on those relationships where you feel you have not given as much time as you would have liked to during the earlier part of the year.
  5. Have coffee with your mentor or trusted friend.  Ask them to tell you honestly how they think you are doing and what you can do differently. Listen to their words of advice and determine to take action!
  6. Get more exercise outdoors.  With the brilliant weather we’ve been having this activity won’t coat you a thing so you have no excuse!  Its amazing how creativity can be inspired by being out in nature.
  7. Finally, spend some time reflecting on how far you have come since the beginning of the year.  Make an honest assessment of what you have achieved as well as what you haven’t.   What you would like to see happen over the next few months before the year ends? Write down your thoughts and then formulate a plan for what you are going to do come September when everything kicks off again.  Your aim is to hit the ground running and with the right focus, you can make it happen.

Have fun!

Oge

Reach Coaching