You can find the introduction into our cycle about successful time management in this post:Time management: live to work or work to live.

We start our conversation about time management quite unusually – with the Rest.

Do you remember feeling tired and exhausted because of work? If so – you are not alone. This is a common problem nowadays. In Japanese, there is even a special word “karoshi” – “death from overwork”.

In the competent personal time management not only the amount of time is important, but also its quality. So you should think about how to organize your rest, restoring your energy resource.

Rhythmic rest during the working day

Try to remember: how did you allocate your rest breaks during the working day yesterday?

Perhaps, they were spontaneous. You distracted for a few minutes to an interesting discussion on the Internet; chatted with your friend; went out to smoke; closed your eyes and dreamed; drank a cup of coffee etc.

Such spontaneous rest has some downsides. First of all, it is not rhythmic. Therefore, the first principle recommended to the organization of rest during the working day is rhythm. Use small planned rest through a strictly defined time intervals.

Typically, the optimum mode is about 5 minutes rest every hour. 10 minutes after 1.5 hour is also possible. Duration from one hour to one and a half is the most comfortable interval of continuous operation for human.

It doesn’t matter how much work you have to do. Invest time in these five-minute rest, working without them is extremely inefficient.

The more divers this the five-minute rest, the better you relax. Be sure to leave the workplace, do “physical activities”. If you can’t go outside – walk along the corridor. If you work with people – stay alone. If you work with numbers – make a phone call to a good friend and discuss something emotionally pleasant. It’s also recommended to do some simple exercise: slopes, squats, etc. It is perfect to restore your strength and energy to work!


Speaking about the rest, it is impossible to ignore the laziness. Laziness is not always bad, it is a normal protective reaction of our organism. It may be caused by:

  • Fatigue, objective tiredness of the organism, lack of physical and emotional energy.
  • The discrepancy between our “musts” our “wants” – when we spend our time on what we don’t like.
  • An intuitive feeling of uselessness of the currently executed task.
  • Your subconscious mind gives you a signal: “Wait, do not fuss, clean out your soul from the small current thoughts, make it possible to create something new”. In this state come the best ideas and creative inspiration.

Terms of creative laziness simple:

  • If we are lazy, then we should be 100% lazy, not trying to do something else in the meantime – think, solve problems, etc. Pure laziness is a pure feeling of fullness of life and universal harmony.
  • Consciously make a decision: “I want to be lazy – and I will do it”. Without hesitation or remorse.
  • You can overthink some information important for solving your problem. But do not think about the problem in a state of laziness!

With the help of these rules, laziness becomes an inexhaustible source of beautiful ideas and solutions, as well as the perfect rest and recuperation.

Effective sleep

Sleep is the most important source of rest and recuperation. But do we always arrange it properly? Even without increasing the amount of time of sleep, you can significantly improve its quality.

The stability of falling asleep and awakening significantly increases sleep efficiency. Your body gets used to a certain time and falling asleep and awakening becomes easier. It is desirable to ventilate the room and do not eat a few hours before bedtime.

Try to find the best way of switching to the sleep mode – reading, walking, listening to music, light gymnastic exercises, anything that helps you to relieve the brain from daily cares, switch to a slower rhythm.

Sleep duration may be different, it is important to determine the optimum for yourself. How to do it?

Our sleep consists of several cycles of changes in the “fast” and “slow” sleep. The duration of one cycle differs from 1 to 2 hours. It is desirable that the total duration of sleep should be multiple cycle length. For example, if the length of the cycle is 1.5 hour, sleep for 7.5 hour (multiple cycle length) is better than 8 hours. When the duration sleep is multiple the length of the sleep cycle, the person wakes up with a sense of vigor, freshness and good recuperation. Watch yourself, try to vary the duration of sleep and you will soon determine which duration of sleep is optimal for you.

It’s important to organize not only the process of sleeping but also the process of awakening. I advise you to set a few different tunes on your alarm clock and use them to create a gradual awakening process. For example, you need to wake up at 8.00. Set a nice and quiet melody to play at 7:30 to wake up. At 7.45 set something more cheerful, perhaps already with the lyrics, which the brain responds more actively than the tune without lyrics. And at 8.00 set the most joyful and energetic melody, which will help you to finally wake up, get up from the bed and gladly meet the new day of your life.

Using sleep during the working day

Have you been sleepy in the afternoon, trying to focus on the important task? What to do if you feel sleepy at work?

Look at the graph of the average daily human biorhythms.


It is believed that our daily activity has two ups and two downs. It is easy to notice that one of the recessions occurs exactly in the afternoon.

The simplest solution to the problem is to nap during the afternoon recession in biorhythms. Remember the famous Latin American siesta – the mandatory afternoon nap in the heat. Remember also the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who managed to live up to 90 years despite the unhealthy lifestyle. His assistants had the right to terminate his mandatory nap by nothing less important than the beginning of the war.

What if you do not have an office with a comfortable leather sofa and you can’t afford a nap?

Possible alternatives. The most simple one is a short afternoon nap in the car, if you have one. Spend 20-30 minutes on it, they will pay off during the afternoon work.

You can briefly fall asleep at the workplace or somewhere else – in a meeting room, in a chair in the far corner etc. To disconnect from external interference, you can put on the headphones with your favorite music. You can determine the duration of this “microsleep” yourself. The optimum duration is 10-15 minutes.

“The experience of the moment”

Developing the theme of rest, it is necessary to dwell on such an important aspect of the relationship between man and time as pure “experience of the moment”. Remember the Zen parable: “A student came to the teacher and left an umbrella and boots at the entrance. The teacher asked him, where did he put his staff – on the left or on the right. The student could not remember and was ashamed: having lost the vigilance, he missed the moment”.

At the end of the 20th century, time management expert Stephen Rehtshafen drew attention to the risk of malignancy and “run for the time” – constant haste in which most people live in industrialized countries. Be aware: the early stages of the time management may be accompanied by the “anxiety syndrome”. Do not worry, it passes quickly. But when you manage the time, you feel it as a subservient resource and it’s much easier for you to find some time for spontaneity, mindless pastime, laziness, contemplation of the harmony of the universe and other things that do not bring immediate material gain. When planning time, it is important to remember that “fullness”, “saturation” of pastime, its “quality” are no less important than its purely arithmetic quantity.

“Plan” and “experience of the moment” must support each other.

For example, you like sunsets and allot time to the contemplation of the sunset when it’s possible. Like it or not, if you work a lot, this process should be planned. For example, the sunset is the most beautiful at 21.15 and lasts no more than 25-30 minutes. Does such planning prevent the purity of contemplation, not burdened with thoughts, concerns and other irregularities? No way. On the contrary, only with the help of such planning, you can allocate the right amount of time for the sunset, despite the workload, and most importantly you can disconnect from all the extraneous thoughts and worries during the contemplation, knowing that the remaining tasks and problems are under control.

The first step in creating a personal TM system

Spending a minimum of “initial investment of time” establish competent rest during working hours and after work.

Summary of recommendations:

  • Make the rest during the day rhythmic;
  • Provide maximum diversity;
  • Enjoy “laziness”;
  • Increase the efficiency of your sleep;
  • Use “microsleep” during the working day;
  • “Experience the moment”.

Stay tuned with us and read our the nex post Motivation: how to deal with unpleasant tasks.