Great leaders understand that rest is not an enemy to productivity.
Building margins for rest is an absolute necessity to be an effective leader!
- Strategic downtime allows opportunity to refresh.
- Powering down provides the time for renewed creativity.
- Leaders should rest to become more productive.
Think about it, the God of creation worked six days but, on that seventh He rested! Jesus reinforced this when He was challenged by some Pharisees in Mark 2:27, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, not people meet the requirements of the Sabbath.”
- Rest is a gift.
However, leaders tend to redline rather than build a healthy rhythm.
- Some hold a high stressed schedule as a badge of honor.
- Their families suffer because they never have an “off” switch.
- Work becomes their identity.
Yet, research shows that ultimately they perform at a much lower level than counterparts who regularly disengage. Even Jesus habitually separated from the pace of life and went into the mountains to regroup (Matthew 14:23).
A healthy pace doesn’t happen by accident. It must be scheduled. These three times should be considered when building breaks into the work routine.
- Build in a weekly hiatus. A day when you are free to rest. This is not the same thing as a day off to get the yard mowed, run errands or get the car serviced. This is a day when you disconnect and focus on replenishing.
- There are times when multiple days should be taken. This season may be triggered by severe emotional stress where the leader is susceptible to burnout. Leaders may require time away to sustain their physical stamina or to protect their marital relationship.
- There are situations that require an extended time away.
Here are some keys for extended breaks.
- Decide what type of rest is needed, emotional, physical, spiritual, relational or mental. This is important because there needs to be a focus during the time away.
- Determine the place or environment needed to best facilitate replenishment. It could be a beach, a mountain lodge, a reputable counseling center or a coffee shop.
- Decide when and put it on the calendar, schedule it. Lock it in and make the commitment necessary to act on it.
- Determine if there is a need for specific resources. Resources could include books, recreational equipment, counselors, friends, family or finances.
- Decide how you will detach and implement that plan. This would involve email, phones, text, social media, and delegating responsibilities.
- Determine the parameters for re-entry. This will allow totally detachment until it is time to re-engage. The plan might involve having a co-leader or an administrative assistant prioritize the workload that has accumulated. Determine how many days out emails, text, phone calls will be reinstated. A re-entry plan sets everyone’s expectations and provides the guidelines necessary for a healthy break.
- Deliberately secure accountability. Allow an outside voice to speak into your schedule?
There isn’t a “one size fits all” when it comes to taking time off. Every leader is wired uniquely. A wise leader will shift their negative perspective about rest and incorporate a
rhythm that is right for them. At the end of the day, rest is the primary purpose…..because Great leaders understand that rest is not an enemy to productivity.