The words stared at me. Or rather, I stared at them. Unblinking. With heavy eyes and a foggy brain, there was no way I was going to get my reading done this afternoon. I placed the book down on the table beside me. In its stead, I grabbed my phone. Bypassing the lock screen, I opened the timer app and set the clock for 30 minutes. My head hit the pillow and I was out.
The alarm went off. Awakening from the fog, I grabbed my phone and silenced the noise. I was conscious but groggy. So before returning to my work, I opted for a nice procrastinatory lounge around the internet. Gradually, my brain came back online, and with it, my remembrance of everything I still needed to do for the day.
I got up, miraculously, and went to my computer. Though still a little slow, though a tad fatigued, the nap had done its job. The thick layer of malaise had been removed and I was now free to roam about the cabin. But what of the book I was reading? I simply updated my schedule and resumed it later that day.
This article is sponsored by the nap I just took
Naps are weird; they can be both used for good and evil. Well, not evil, but anti-good. At least, that’s true in my case. On one hand, they help reenergize me. They give me a needed break and reset my productivity levels. In turn, the tasks I do following a nap are considerably easier than before.
Case in point: this article. I didn’t get enough sleep last night (entirely my fault) and thus am tired today. I tried writing this article a couple hours ago, but couldn’t. My brain was stuck in a rain cloud. So, I took a quick 25 minute nap. And, voila, here I am writing this to you. Therefore, naps are a tool for good and only good.
But wait just a moment. Before you set an away message on your AIM profile and tuck yourself into bed, be aware of the downfall that naps can quickly become: procrastination. Yes, procrastination. Consider this: did I take a nap because I was tired? Or because I didn’t know what to write? Could it be both? And if so, does it really matter since I’m now writing this to you?
When naps are right for you
I love naps. I’d prefer not to take them because of the time they require, however, I don’t shy away when I can tell they’re needed. When I’ve:
- Slept poorly the night before or didn’t get enough sleep altogether;
- Am running low on motivation to exercise;
- Or had multiple meetings in a day,
- These are all times that I’d likely benefit from a nap.
That said, there’s a fine line between napping for energy and napping for escape. Between recovery and avoidance. And that is a line you must find for yourself. It’s not always easy to tell though so next time you’re considering taking a nap, ask yourself: Do I want to nap for energy? Or do I want to nap because I don’t want to do X, Y, or Z?
Though you may still lie to yourself, hopefully, that question will shed some light as to your true motives. And from there, it’s a matter of putting in the work. Setting a timer, closing your eyes, you know the deal. Naps are a funny thing in that they hold the key to both better and worse performance depending on your purpose. In my case, today it was for the better.
What about you?
PS: Obviously, this article only applies to the workday or times when you actually want to be productive. If you want to take a long, drawn-out, Sunday afternoon nap, go for it. I might just do the same.