Relaxation and leisure increase your productivity

It may seem a tad paradoxical, but you can’t be productive if you don’t know how to relax. Leisure activities and relaxation like reading, talking, playing games, and other non-gadget pastimes can reduce your stress levels and increase your energy. 

Want to learn more? Check out these tips!

1. Step off the merry-go-round. If you’ve recently undergone a particularly busy spell, you may be addicted to going full-throttle. When your mind’s sick and tired of working, but your body can’t stop, you need to slam on the brakes.

2. Understand that rest isn’t a bad thing. You don’t feel guilty about going to the bathroom, so why feel guilty about resting? While too much rest can cut into your productivity, an occasional break is necessary to top up your energy reserves.

3. Set aside some “me” time. Pamper yourself occasionally; it’s okay to think about yourself and do something simply for the pleasure of it. It’s not about being selfish; it’s about self-care and energy replenishment.

4. Don’t feel guilty when you play. When you’re playing, don’t dwell on what you could be doing instead. Be present in your play and enjoy yourself. After all, if you wait until all your work is done before you play, you’ll never play. 

5. Don’t be a workaholic. If you’re a workaholic, get help. Too much work can literally make you sick. You’re likely to burn out, which can lead to depression, excessive physical and emotional stress, and a shortage of physical energy.

6. Learn to unwind. If you find yourself unable to relax after a stressful day, try progressive relaxation for 30 minutes. It quiets your mind, and it’s particularly helpful if you suffer from insomnia.

7. Take regular vacations. Stress and leisure are inversely proportional: the less leisure time you build into your overall life, the more stress you’ll experience — and that translates into less energy. Take all the vacation time you’re due.

8. Don’t jam up vacations with work. Work and play are meant to be separate, so make sure they stay that way. A working vacation isn’t a vacation — it’s work. The quality of a vacation isn’t measured by the output, so leave your cell phone, Blackberry, and laptop at home.

Learn to take it easy to you can become more productive than ever. This might sound like something Zen, but the truth is that even seemingly quiet, relaxing uses of free time are energy-builders — not energy drains.
© 2008 Laura Stack.  Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time™. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations.  Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces.  She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004).  Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M.  To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401.  Visit to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.



  1. Great tips.

    I would add that you must set aside time for regular breaks when you are working (e.g 30 minutes break for 90 minutes work). Your body works in cycles and you should respect them.