By Olivia Ryan
A lot has been written about the importance of setting goals and hustling to meet them, working every hour that you can to meet the demands of a crazy, busy world that we live in. After all, we live in a culture in which people expect everything now, and it’s easy to feel as though you’re missing out if you say no.
Hard work is important of course, but if you overdo it, it can be counterproductive, which is why more and more companies are starting to offer unlimited vacation to employees. Working too hard can wear you out and slow you down, making you work less efficiently overall.
Instead, why not try a little silence?
Spending a little time in silent contemplation allows us to reflect on our lives – something that we often forget to do when we’re working overtime and struggling to hit deadlines. Downing tools for a time to think about things will allow you to analyse your life and to identify ways to improve it.
It may be that you have an epiphany and decide to spend less time at work and more time with your friends and family. Perhaps you’ll realize that it’s time for a career change or you’ll come up with a way to do something more efficiently. Sometimes just a short period of self-reflection can help you to create a solution to a problem or to get past the stumbling block that you’ve been struggling with.
This is echoed by advice from Jon Forrest from Aussiewritings.com. “The best way to beat writers’ block,” Forrest says, “is to take some quiet time to clear your mind and to reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far. Most of the time, you’ll know exactly what to do next by the time you sit back down at the computer.”
Spending a little time in silence will also help you to focus your mind on what you want to achieve. Many of society’s most successful people swear by the power of positive thinking, and you might be surprised at how often it can lead to results.
Take a little inspiration from Jim Carrey who, when he was a poor, struggling actor, wrote himself a check for $10 million and kept it in his wallet. Years later, after the release of Dumb and Dumber, he’d earned enough to cash it.
Spending some time in quiet meditation will have a positive effect on your brain, with studies showing that it helps the brain to grow new cells. Pretty much everyone has heard about how meditation can help, and while sitting in silence isn’t quite the same thing, it has a similar effect when it comes to concentration and cognitive abilities.
You don’t need to practice yoga or carry out meditation to feel the benefits of a little silence. Everyone needs to take some time out – after all, if we didn’t take time out to eat, drink and sleep, we’d die.
Working too hard – for too long and without enough breaks in between – is the fastest way to burn out. Studies have shown, perhaps unsurprisingly, that people who work longer hours tend to be more stressed overall. It just goes to show that while working overtime might help you to catch up with a few deadlines, it’s not going to reduce stress in the longterm.
Even just a small amount of quiet time is going to help, even if it’s only to give your brain a rest. That’s why it’s a good idea to make a concentrated effort to set some quiet time aside where you don’t have to be productive – and where you don’t have to worry about the past or the future.
Ultimately, spending some time in silence to gather your thoughts can be a great way to relax while mulling over whatever problems are weighing on your mind at the time.
When it comes to life – and business – being able to relax and to disconnect yourself from the task in hand is just as important as the work that you do in the first place. The happiest people tend to be those who’ve found a work-life balance that allows them to follow their dreams without damaging their health to get there.
If you’re healthy, you’re happy and you’re following your dreams, you’ll wake up wanting to leap out of bed every morning. Silence can help you to get there.