How can you improve your productivity? For many of us, the ‘obvious’ answer is ‘Do more! Work harder! Fit more in!’ However, evidence actually suggests that in order to be productive, we should actually do less. We should rest more.  We should work ‘smarter’, rather than harder. 
If you do less, how can you possibly get more done? 
It does seem like a strange concept, but the fact is, our brains are not designed for constant work and productivity.  The pomodoro technique, which we’ve talked about before on our blog, works on this principle by splitting the working day into chunks; 25 minutes of concentrated effort followed by a 5-minute break.  The change in pace and activity helps the brain to rest, consolidate, refocus and refresh.  Resting may seem like something to be sandwiched into our days, if and when we have the time, but it is actually just as important as working.  Consultant and researcher Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, sees work and rest as a team ‘ and rest are actually partners. They are like different parts of a wave.  You can’t have the high without the low.’   
So, how can we actually rest more, and better? 
More than sleep… 
Just as common as the misconception that productivity is increased by working more, is the idea that the more we sleep, the more rested we are.  There is truth in this, of course, but even if you get enough sleep, it is still possible to find yourself lacking in energy.  This is where different types of rest come into play. To have the best chance at being fully rested, it’s worth building a variety of types of rest into your life.  These are a few of our favourite ways to recharge: 
Employ the pomodoro technique - A great way to encourage mental rest, divide up your working day and make sure you use your 5 minutes wisely.  Step away from the screen, take some deep breaths, move around.   
Disconnect - Another way to achieve mental rest, it’s well worth taking a digital detox.  Avoid screens an hour before bed.  Take time, now and again, for a longer detox; put away technology for several hours or even a whole day! 
Change of scene - It’s said that a change is as good as a rest, and it’s true! Take a day off, visit somewhere new, or inspiring.  Spend time with friends. You will feel refreshed afterwards.  
Immerse yourself in nature - Always a great way to boost your mood and refresh your mind.  Take a walk, swim in the sea, walk through the woods or spend time in a local park. 
Sleep - Yes, it is still important.  Consider your sleep hygiene (why not check out our blog on sleep?).  Make your bedroom restful and comfortable.  Avoid caffeine, alcohol and technology before sleeping.  
Me time - It’s ok to say no and spend time alone.  This aids social rest. The pace of life is overwhelming and fear of missing out (FOMO) is real.  We all struggle with it, but it truly is OK to say no and take time away from everyone and everything.  If you take time out, now and again, you’ll find it far easier to actually enjoy the occasions when you are socialising.  
Vent - Sometimes emotions get the better of us, feelings overwhelm us and affect our ability to work.  Instead of bottling things up, why not reach out to someone you trust? Even if the person you speak to can’t help you solve problems, the act of vocalising them will provide some relief.   
Self care - Meditate, take a yoga class, volunteer for a cause you care about.  These ways of ‘resting’ take a holistic approach, providing spiritual and sensory rest, like a balm for your soul. 
If you’d like some more inspiration to boost your wellbeing, why not check out our ‘look after your mind’ podcast episode?