My mom used to call her daily nap time her “half-hour power hour”. She’d unabashedly pause the work she was doing as a leader in the direct sales industry to crawl under her satin sheets for a quick snooze around 1pm. Thirty minutes later, she would wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the second half of her workday.
When I started my own business as a speaker, content creatrix and consultant years ago, I ignored my mother’s sage advice about taking naps. Instead, I subscribed to the ridiculous notion that the harder I worked, the more money I would make.
Now that was just silly.
I no longer believe that the harder I work, the more money I’ll make. (In fact, overwork can often have the opposite effect on revenue and can become a costly strategy.) Nor do I believe that taking a nap in the middle of the day is indulgent, superfluous or lazy. On the contrary, I see a brief shut-eye session as a critical aspect to success for any leader, innovator or high performer.
The productivity power of taking naps is not news. Just like my mom, there are countless leaders and visionaries throughout history who extolled the virtues of forty winks. (If it was good for Thomas Edison, Salvadore Dali, Winston Churchill, and John F. Kennedy, it’s probably good for us too.) Regardless of what business you are in, I encourage you to steal a few minutes during your lunch hour or mid-day to power down. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Schedule it. Before you start your day, imagine what 20-40 minute window will contain your restoration period and put it in your calendar. If it’s not in the calendar, it isn’t real.
Take it. Once nap-time comes around, don’t get lulled into thinking you don’t need it or “don’t have time” to take it. Those are just B.S. excuses that will keep you in unhealthy martyrdom. When your nap notification goes off, step away from the blinking devices and go rest. It’s an order. You can nap anywhere where you won’t be disturbed, even if that’s your car or a chair in a conference room with a pillow and blanket.
Optimize it. Before you lay down, confirm that you set your timer. (I prefer the timer function versus setting an alarm. On more than one occasion I've slept longer than I wanted to because I inadvertently clicked AM instead of PM. Oops.) Get comfy, remove any jewelry or constricting apparel like a necktie or scarf. Use an eye mask to block out any light. Take a few big deep breaths to fully arrive at your nap and get your mind to unplug. Turn your ringer off so you aren't interrupted.
Enjoy it. It’s still worth it if you don’t actually go to sleep. I liken naptime to defragging our mental computers, turning down the noise and re-centering ourselves. If you do dive down, let yourself totally sink into the bliss, if only for a few winks!
When the alarm goes off, you may want to snooze for just a few minutes more to give yourself a soft re-entry into the workday. I typically use those moments to energize my vision for the rest of the day, playing out certain scenarios in my head before I actually do them in real life. I’ll recite my daily Statement of Intention, and confirm the most important things to do for the remainder of the workday. I have found that my post-nap snooze is often the most productive part of the day.
If you are ready to supercharge your creative output and get more done in less time, don’t forget the zzzzs! High performers know that the secret to powering up is to power down too.
Theresa Rose is a business motivational speaker, award-winning author and expert on mindful productivity who helps organizations and their teams have more time, get more done, earn more money and have more fun. For more information, visit TheresaRose.com.