FORTY WINKS TO BETTER PERFORMANCE

“To meet any eventuality and to ensure smooth management of relief and rescue operations which may arise out of flood-like situation due to the heavy rainfall occurred in this district, it is hereby ordered that all officers shall remain present in their respective headquarters including Sunday. Any absence will be viewed seriously and action such as deemed proper will be taken against the defaulting person.”

Orders such as these are not uncommon in my line of work. But, what made me smile on receiving this order two days before was the fact that just few minutes before receiving this order, I had seen a WhatsApp message to write on the topic – ‘REST’ for CandlesOnline. I had volunteered to write for Monday, thinking that I could write leisurely on Sunday. But, what an irony it turned out to be! Leave alone write an article, my rest day was gone! Though losing a day’s rest usually makes one cringe, in emergency situations the call of duty is supreme.

Emergencies emerge every now and then in each of our lives – a loved one suddenly taken ill, a road accident, an unexpected death in the family. These are exceptions requiring occasional adjustments in our schedules for temporary periods during which our rest gets affected. Our bodies adapt, accommodate and rebound without much effort in responses to situations such as these. However, continual deprivation of rest is a silent killer!

Rest (it includes sleep and relaxation) is an integral part of longevity. Research shows that people deprived of adequate rest have a reduced life span, score lower on the performance scale and aren’t able to sustain for long. Machines made to run for durations longer than their performance capacity, often break down. They then need oiling and repair before they start functioning again. Without repair, they simply rust and rot due to disuse.

We humans are so much more than mere machines!

While it is important to find rest times for ourselves, it is equally crucial to identify the need for rest in the people around us. A humanized world is rapidly getting mechanized in a widely expanding digitized world! So much so, that we are increasingly losing sensitivity to the need for rest and relaxation in ourselves and others.  

Heard of the boss who comes to office at mid-day while issuing a whip for his staff to reach office before working hours and makes them to stay on beyond official working hours? An insensitive boss! The rest-deprived employees then vent out their frustration before their families, thus creating an unhealthy environment of depression, fear, anxiety and continual friction. Insensitivity breeds insensitivity!

From of years old, we all have been used to seeing wives and mothers working day in and day out to care for their families. Taking care of sick children, helping in their studies, cooking as per the taste buds of the family members, dusting, cleaning, attending to guests and some even balancing a job alongside. No gender biases, but cultural stereotypes world-over mostly accord the household chores to females, and hence the division of labour. That’s beside the point, since this article is not about gender equality or stereotypes. Be it a man who is engaged in heaps of chores or a woman, each one needs adequate rest. It is not justice for one person to slog for hours together without resting, without any one else lending a helping hand.

Human capital is a rich resource. It contributes aplenty to economic development. Apart from skill and training, the other important factor in assessing and tapping on to valuable human capital is ‘efficiency’. Efficiency is in turn assessed by performance. Performance is directly impacted by rest or the lack of it. Do you see the sequence here? Rest and relaxation indirectly impact economic development big time.

An organization having overworked employees will be an under performer in the long run, compared to organizations offering adequate rest, relaxation and recreation times to employees. Yes, each of us need to be on the toes in a fast-paced world – be it students in their studies or adults at work and home. None of us wants a night’s slumber at the cost of falling behind. Yet, it is wise to let the body clock tick away gracefully rather than pave the way for the clock to leap before time. Recognising the need for adequate rest and unwinding, some work places have a scheduled time for power naps or relaxation avenues like gyms, cafeterias, etc.

Two quick take aways:

DIVIDE AND DELEGATE

You may be a person who can multitask efficiently. Still, identify people around to whom you can delegate some of your tasks. If you are a mother, delegate some tasks to your children. If you are a team leader, delegate tasks to your team members. If you are one of those meticulous perfectionists, who cannot rest in peace without micromanaging, work on yourself to let go of obsessive management and look for smart ways of management with optimum productivity. Use the time saved, for a siesta. A burnt out candle gives no light. It just leaves behind smoky remains. Divide and delegate tasks so that you can continue to glow and shine in the world.

SHARE AND CARE

Look around you for overworked people. It doesn’t mean that you go snooping into others houses, offices or even into other people’s lives. Start from your immediate surroundings. Start at home. Check with your relatives and your immediate community. Share responsibilities so that others get time to rest. Accept delegated tasks without a grumble or a murmur when you have spare time. Awaken the spirit of sensitivity and the sense of realization that people around you need adequate rest. Sharing of responsibilities is a vital indicator of caring for others.

We can contribute towards a healthier world with happier people if we learn to rest well and realize that others need to rest too.