2019-01-25 / Chaplain's News

A call to rest

Staff Sgt. Branden W. Ford
Cyber Protection Brigade

Resting is an important aspect of spiritual fitness. Nearly every faith group places a high emphasis on the need for rest, to include Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. This rest is not the same thing as being lazy; rather it is a time for self-reflection, meditation, and/ or prayer to God. Self-care is important as it replenishes the soul and often serves to realign ourselves and our motivations for our day-to-day tasks. We simply need rest as a form of nourishment, which is used to re-energize the mind, body, and soul.

In our day and age, it is almost counter cultural to advise others to rest. We live in a world where the focus is on what you can do and achieve, and thus we are focused on working. It is common for many to feel guilty when they take dedicated time to rest and recover. This is no different in the Army, where people often feel compelled to work into the late hours of the night or take their work home with them. However, if we continually ignore the need to rest, then we are at high risk of burn out, which will quickly turn into apathy. The quality of our work will surely decline if we no longer care.

A common obstacle that prevents people from dedicating time to rest is the idea that there is too much work and too little time. The solution to this obstacle is learning how to manage your time. A mentor of mine taught me a technique to help me better focus my time during the duty day. His advice was the first thing you should do, before you do anything, is “STOP.”

Before I explain what each letter means in this acronym, I don’t want to skip over the irony: before we start, we need to STOP. We often are too quick to jump into work once we arrive, which can cause us to get lost in our work and then before you know it, the sun has set and there is still more work to be done. To prevent this, we need to take a step back and prioritize what needs to be done before we do anything.

The acronym STOP stands for Sit, Think, Observe, and Plan. First you “sit” and relax your mind. Once you are relaxed, “think” about what needs to be done that day and write down tasks in no particular order. Then you “observe” what you have written down, review it to determine if you missed anything, and determine if there are any subtasks or resources needed to accomplish the listed tasks. Finally make a “plan” by prioritizing all the tasks that were written down, and then execute the plan in that order.

Using this simple technique will help you be pro-active in how you use your time – not reactive – and thus help you maintain control of your schedule.

The second part of time management is knowing when to stop at the end of the day. The problem is that there will always be more work to do. So, we need to learn when to call it a day. A key question to ask yourself near the end of the day is, “What am I working on, and can it wait until tomorrow?” If you prioritized your time well at the start of the day, the answer will usually be, “Yes.”

Learning how to properly manage daily tasks is an essential skill that will enable us to dedicate time for the rest that we need.

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