‘We’re obsessed with multitasking and productivity’: Here’s why taking breaks is important

·3-min read

The Yahoo Life Challenge: Stop Doing It! is about helping you stop unhealthy behaviors and start prioritizing your own self-care. Follow along with us as Danielle LaPorte shares how to change your outlook for the better and work on forming healthy habits every day this week. This is Day 4 of the 5-day Stop Doing It! Challenge.

When was the last time you actually took a break? We’re not talking about mindlessly scrolling through your phone or zoning out in front of the TV — we mean truly stopping what you’re doing and just resting for a few quiet minutes. Chances are, it’s something you rarely do.

In partnership with the Yahoo Life Challenge: Stop Doing It! author and inspirational speaker Danielle LaPorte — who is a member of Oprah's Super Soul 100 and offers meditations on everything from love to healing and spirituality on Sounds True — is challenging people to change the habits that leave them “overworked and overwhelmed” and instead work on cultivating “some peace and some happiness” in their lives.

Danielle LaPorte wants you to make time to rest on day four of the 5-day Yahoo Life Challenge: Stop Doing It! (Photo: Anastasia Chomlack)
Danielle LaPorte wants you to make time to rest on day four of the 5-day Yahoo Life Challenge: Stop Doing It! (Photo: Anastasia Chomlack)

On Day 1 of the 5-day challenge, LaPorte gave suggestions on how to gracefully say no instead of overcommitting yourself to please others and burning yourself out. On Day 2, we tackled how to stop complaining and how to start focusing on what you appreciate instead. Day 3 was all about stopping negative self-talk and quieting that harsh inner critic.

For Day 4 of the challenge, it’s all about rest. That may sound easy, but in a society where workaholics and being “busy” are glorified and taking time out for yourself comes with a side of guilt — it isn’t. “We fill every last minute of our days with activity,” LaPorte tells Yahoo Life. “We have found ways to make relaxing productive. We are obsessed with productivity and multitasking. And it's costing us — it's costing our health, our bodies, our kids, and our families.”

For this challenge, “I'm asking you to rest,” says LaPorte. “Radical, I know. This is about stopping ‘earning’ your rest. In other words, taking some time for yourself.”

So how can you fit in rest when you’re juggling work and family responsibilities? “When you’ve got 15 minutes between Zoom calls and just a little bit of space in between running errands, how about you don't scroll?” suggests LaPorte. “How about you don't fill that time? How about you just stop? Lay on the floor. Sit and stare at a blank page. Contemplate the meaning of life. Just stop.”

Here’s this week’s call to action: “I'm asking you to rest,” says LaPorte. “It might be the most radical thing you've done in days. This is what I do. I make a nest for myself. I put some blankets down. I've got a pillow on my head, a pillow under my knees. And I set my timer — without looking at my phone too much — for seven or 11 minutes. Why? Because five minutes is too short [and] 15 minutes feels way too long. And I just lay there and be still.”

Are you ready to try it? “I know you can do it,” says LaPorte. “Just lay there and do nothing. It might be truly the most productive thing you've done all week. Healing is like that.”

Check back tomorrow for the final day of the 5-day challenge.

For more great advice, check out Danielle LaPorte on Sounds True.

Video produced by Stacy Jackman.

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