Last night did not go as intended. I got into bed on time in my hotel room in Houston (not pictured; the photo on this post is from a beach rental in 2017!). I slept for about 3 hours. Then the congestion from this nasty cold I somehow picked up kicked in and I lay awake for most of the next 2.5 hours. I slept for an hour before popping awake again about 30 minutes before my alarm (set early so I could get to the airport on time).
What should have been a night featuring 7 hours of sleep had turned into a disjointed night of 4 hours. Fortunately, my plane was a little early. So after I got home and got lunch, I used the window I had before a call to climb into bed and nap for 30 minutes.
When I woke up, I felt far more functional. I was able to do my call, write a few things I needed to write, and even go for my standard 3-mile afternoon run.
I’m quite sure that I would have felt less able to tackle those tasks had I spent those 30 minutes doing something that looked more like work: answering emails, starting on my writing projects. Thus, taking a nap was far more productive for me than these things that meet a more traditional definition of productivity.
Yet there is still a huge stigma about taking naps during the work day. Sure, some hip companies have nap pods, but in far more workplaces, naps must be snuck in, behind closed doors, as if something transgressive is taking place.
But it’s all about managing energy. Just as going outside for 20 minutes is more energizing than deleting emails (and getting distracted by Twitter in the process), taking a quick nap can be a way to keep going for the rest of the day. It’s much like grabbing a cup of coffee. So here’s to learning to see it that way.
If you work in an office, have you ever napped during the work day?