Proactively Wasting Time to Increase Productivity

By Doug Armey

“When we stop forcing, the breakthrough often comes.  A creator then finds a rhythm. They certainly show up to their work. They put in hours harvesting what has come to the surface. They edit chapters, write blogs, polish songs, record their music and so forth. But they rest, too. They turn off their minds and let the soil work for them.”  Don Miller

We’re the most connected generation in history.  Facebook, Twitter, email, texting, cell phones.  There is almost nowhere and no time we cannot connect.

Because of the technology there’s a huge movement to work remotely.  We can work from home or on vacation and accomplish what could only have been done sitting physically in an office 50 years ago.

But the good news has also become the bad news.

We’re always on call.  Always able to work on projects.  And in our competitive world it seems we must work at this grueling pace to stay ahead.  So our days can blend into each other with no opportunity turn off our minds and let the subconscious create.  It can hinder us from the critical breakthroughs needed to be our best.

Don Miller is saying yes we need to show up for work and put in the hours of productive time. We need to plant, water and till.  But in the cycle we also need to allow time for the mysterious process of germination and growth.  If we don’t we’ll never have the abundant harvest.  Because it’s in those down times often our most creative thoughts arise that solve our most vexing questions.

One of the best ways to ensure that creative “time wasting” is thousands of years old yet has gained a new resurgence in popularity.

Setting aside one day per week to unplug and rest.  For some it’s part of their religion.  For others it’s simply recognizing the need to have down time to be restored physically and mentally.

Written in Deuteronomy 3000 years ago it says, “No working on the Sabbath; keep it holy just as God, your God, commanded you. Work six days, doing everything you have to do, but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest Day.” (Deuteronomy 5:12-14, The Message)

And Jesus said, turning the Sabbath into a blessing, “The Sabbath was made to serve us; we weren’t made to serve the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27, The Message)

It’s given as a gift not a requirement.  He says to set it apart as special.  A day away from your normal occupation.

Does that mean become a couch-potato?

Not unless you want to.

  • Spend the day working in your garden if that’s what you enjoy.
  • Take a hike in the mountains.
  • Go out for lunch with your family or friends.
  • Attend a concert.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Play games with your kids.
  • Have fun!

The list is endless.  The point is to disconnect from your work so physically and mentally you unwind.

I’ve personally found some of my greatest breakthroughs on challenges happen on those Sabbath days.  My subconscious has the chance to rearrange the pieces and put them together in fresh ways.  As well as it brings a revitalization physically, mentally and relationally.

The second aspect though is also contained in that verse. When he says to keep it holy it also means to set it apart to God.  It offers us the opportunity to reconnect with God in ways we often don’t during our frantic weeks.

  • Go to church if you wish.
  • Listen to some spiritual music.
  • Worship in your own way.
  • Spend time in prayer and quiet meditation.
  • Reflect on the bigger questions.
  • Let God in his quiet way speak to your heart.
  • Sense in your mind God’s leading.
  • Embrace the spiritual renewal.

God often speaks to me in those quiet times.  Rarely do I hear his inner voice in the busyness of life and above the noise of my distractions.  But when my mind and heart is at rest and looking to connect with him he comes and touches me intimately.

I know it’s hard, though. So much to do.  The competition so great.  The demands unrelenting.  And the access so easy.  How do we have the confidence to purposely shut it off?

The passage goes on and gives us a clue when it says, “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there by his great power and strength.” (Deuteronomy 5:15 NCV)

Wow!  I seems if God has the power to work amazing miracles he has the power to take care of the smallest details of everyday life. If he could lead the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt he can lead us into effectiveness in the market place.

So part of setting aside one day per week is trusting it may be our most productive time.  Anticipating God’s leading.  Believing God is taking care of us.

And lest you think I’ve this mastered I haven’t.  I still struggle at times too.

But I’ve learned that often my most blessed times come when I purposely disconnect for a whole day.

I encourage you to try it if you haven’t already. Or embrace it again if you’ve let it slip.

Let me know what happens.  I’d love to hear.

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Categories : Spirituality, Success

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