Plan time for renewal. You are not a human doing, you are a human being. And that means you need time for renewal and recovery of energy. Personal renewal is an essential strategy for any leader. Since everyone is different you may not need as much down time as someone else, but you do need it.

Use the 80-20 Rule

Get away. Change activities. Change pace. Taking a long weekend or holiday is a good capacity building strategy for those who want to be at their best. Effective people know that making a change relaxes and increases a sense of well-being. This creates a climate where new insights can pop into your mind. That fresh thinking can be important to the very project you were working on.

Renewal is not slacking and laziness. It is good management of your most important resource … you.

“You probably got that wonderful idea not when you were struggling to find an answer, but precisely when you weren’t trying to think about it. Perhaps you were on the running path, in the shower, at a symphony concert, reading the funnies, or driving home from work. For many people, their great ‘Aha!’ moments of insight come when they wake up in the middle of the night.”

Ann McGee-Cooper, You Don't Have to Come Home Exhausted

Five Days of Action

What is your practical, on the ground operating truth about work and relaxation? Can you relax or are you always working? Do you know how to pause? Think seriously about this and commit to making needed changes to take advantage of renewal time and the good it will do you.

Today, think about how you can build renewal into your life. Renewal is doing something entirely different from work. It’s about a change of thinking and action that makes you feel good. Maybe you always wanted to begin a hobby. Try it. Maybe you used to enjoy skiing. Start again.

If renewal is good management of your most valuable resource – you – imagine what would happen if renewal was encouraged company wide. Encourage no-work weekends and holidays.

Some of your best ideas will come while engaging in renewal. Be ready for them. Make sure to bring along something to record your thoughts. Not thinking about work may occasionally result in some of your biggest breakthroughs.

Plan for some fun, relaxing down time. Put it on your calendar. Do it. Enjoy the time alone with those you love, and be conscious of enjoying the moment.