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Flow Tip: Take a Nap

I know. I know! I know what you are thinking right now: Now you’re really pushing it, lady. You WANT to take a nap. You may even understand intuitively what a great idea this is. But you OBVIOUSLY CAN’T nap at work!! PUHLEEZE! Napping is definitely not a part of the ideal worker archetype. It’s the opposite of ideal. Only George Costanza naps at work, because he’s a slacker.

I’m guessing that there is a little part of you that still believes that your success and performance at work is a function of effort, of the time you spend actively on the job. The time you spend trying, not napping.

But if you have a job that requires that you think, at all, then the quality of your thinking matters. Right?

Turns out that one of the most efficient and effective ways to improve the quality of our thinking in the afternoon is to take a 20-minute power nap. According to Ron Friedman, an award-winning psychologist and the author of The Best Place to Work,

“Our biological need for rest is no less pressing than our biological need for food or water. When we’re tired, less blood flow reaches the areas of our brain that are critical to thinking. We’re also less capable of forming long-term memories. Sure, we can power through the midday slog when we need to—but only at a reduced level of functioning.”

A 20 or 30-minute power nap will improve your thinking and decision making, enhance your creativity, and elevate your mood. It will also increase your alertness and improve your accuracy and attention to detail. All of these things, obviously, will increase your productivity. If you have time to run out for a cup of coffee, you have time for a power nap.

This post is from a series about “strategic slacking” from the “Science of Finding Flow,” an online course I created as a companion to my book The Sweet Spot: How to Accomplish More by Doing LessWant to go on to the next class or start the course from the beginning? It’s free! Just go to The Science of Finding Flow course page. Enjoy!