Take Time Off! Why You Need to Stop Working3 min read
You might be burned out on work, or love your work. In either case, you may be working too much. Overwork has damaging effects on the quality of your faith, relationships and work.
You need to stop working to thrive.
Some people complain about being overworked. Some people wear it as a badge of honor.
Here’s the advice I give to people who work for me: Don’t live to work–work to live.
Don’t Be a Slave to Your Work
You’re not a slave to your work, your employer, your customers, or clients unless you choose to be.
You might say things like this:
- I can’t work fewer hours. There’s too much to do.
I’ll lose my job.
I’ll lose customers, or clients.
I won’t get that promotion.
My competition will get ahead.
Fear keeps us enslaved to work.
Choices have consequences. Most choices require us to give up something to gain something.
When auto-maker Henry Ford reduced his factory workers’ time at work to 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week, he also doubled their wages. Ford at first lost money. His competition called him foolish. Then production improved and sales increased. Other companies jumped on board.
Ford had done his research. Much more research has since added weight to Ford’s findings.
When we work more than 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, the increase in our productivity is temporary. After 8 hours, fatigue sets in. We slow down. We make mistakes. Our most productive work occurs between our second and sixth hours on the job. We might achieve a short-lived advantage, but after 2 weeks of overtime and overwork, safety is compromised, focus lost, judgement impaired, health compromised. After that, it only gets worse.
You Were Designed for Rest
We were designed to rest from work.
God designed the world so the lights would go out. He designed humans to sleep and rejuvenate best in the dark.
God coded the 7-day cycle into His creation.
“Franz Halberg proposes that body rhythms of about seven days, far from being passively driven by the social cycle of the calendar week, are innate, autonomous, and perhaps the reason why the calendar week arose in the first place… These circaseptan, or about weekly, rhythms are one of the major surprises turned up by modern chronobiology. Fifteen years ago, few scientists would have expected that seven day biological cycles would prove to be so widespread and so long established in the living world. They are of very ancient origin, appearing in primitive one-celled organisms, and are thought to be present even in bacteria, the simplest form of life now existing.” Jeremy Campbell, Winston Churchill’s Afternoon Nap, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986), pp. 75-79.
This 7-day cycle is to remind us to rest.
You might say, I don’t need to rest, I’m not tired.
Was God tired after He spoke this world I to existence? Did God need rest after He formed man from the dust and woman from man’s rib?
- God chose rest, when He called the seventh-day “Sabbath” (Genesis 2:2).
God gave rest to humanity when He gave the Sabbath to Adam and Eve (Mark 2:27).
God reminds us to rest, when He says “Remember the Sabbath day,” (Exodus 20:8).
God knew we would forget to rest.
The Danger of Busyness
Whether we forget or choose not to rest from work, we undermine our ability to thrive:
- Faith is replaced by self-reliance.
Relationships become about getting rather than giving.- Work becomes our god or our adversary.
Stop. Step back. Look at how you spend your time and energy. Do you choose to rest from your work? Have you allowed yourself to become a slave to work? God made you to rest. Remember to stop and rest to thrive.