For the past several months I have been leading a weekly mid-week “Reboot” session for the GoGoDone virtual co-working community.
The session is scheduled into a 30-minute time slot, but generally lasts only 15–20 minutes. I guide some very light mindful movement and stretching followed by a meditation.
It is scheduled on the heels of a productivity session that runs for 90-minutes; the people who attend that session don’t need to do anything other than stay on the Zoom for a little longer to take part in it. There’s no extra cost to them.
I first conceived the idea in response to my own need: I was finding that co-working sessions, while sometimes helpful, often left me feeling drained. Whatever productivity boost I had during the session was outweighed by my complete lack of productivity for the rest of the day. I realized it was because I was overstimulated by Zoom, working and conversation that happened in those sessions. I needed a way to force myself hit pause and reground the energy in my body after cognitive work and conversation.
People who attend tell me that their 15–20 minute investment repays itself in an energy boost, greater focus for the afternoon, and a renewed sense of purpose heading into the second half of the week.
That’s a great return on investment.
The challenge is that very few people attend. It’s almost comical how quickly people rush off the co-working sessions when the host announces Reboot.
This is a community of go-getters and high-achievers who are obsessed with productivity to the point that they gather on Zoom to work in Pomodoro sessions. These are the people looking for the best hacks to be more effective and churn out more work. They take action to overcome their resistance to their hardest tasks.
Except when it comes to taking a pause. When it comes to rest, their resistance wins out almost every time.
The list of excuses is wide ranging. Most of them involve having too much to do and not enough time.
I don’t take it personally, and I don’t blame them. I get it. In fact, when it comes to resisting rest I am often leading the army into battle.
I should mention that these are smart people who have read the science and the studies on why rest is important. Our resistance is not based in ignorance.
We all know that rest is important. Vital.
So why do we resist so strongly?
In part it’s because we live in a culture that conditions us to believe that our value lies in what we “ship” or produce and the frequency and volume of our production; that if we pause we will fall behind or we’ll lose our edge.
The dominant cultural messages tend to overshadow any experience we have that pausing sharpens our edge and improves the quality of our presence and our work.
As long as the dominant message is prevailing, our fear of rest will put us in resistance to the very thing we most need.
Those of us who strive to do the hardest tasks must start thinking about rest as the hardest task. Just like any other skill, it’s a muscle that we can develop.
In the same way we show up for our other work, we must show up for rest.
This is why I continue to show up to host the Reboot sessions, even if one person shows up. Even if nobody else shows up.
It’s my way of taking a stand for what’s most important, not just for our productivity but for our overall health and wellness; for our lives.