Unlocking Productivity: The Power of Purposeful Rest

March 25, 2024

Discover How PunchDrunk Digital Transforms Productivity With Strategic Rest Days

PunchDrunk Digital’s managing partner, Steve Blanshan, is an avid long-distance runner. I know, he’s crazy. Part of his obsession with running includes reading blogs, posts, and books written by other long-distance runners that share his obsession with lacing up a pair of running shoes. Recently he read the book, To Be A Runner by Martin Dugard. (available on Amazon – Buy Here). In the book Dugard discusses a concept that Steve found fascinating. Purposefully taking time off from running… to become a better runner. 

Steve had to reread the paragraph again. How could taking time off from running, a sport that’s mantra is “run more”, translate to increased running performance?  Well, it’s actually pretty simple and the science of it made Steve wonder if the same could be true for other aspects of life, such as work performance. 

Truth: many runners wait until they are suffering from injury before they take a break. They go too hard for too long and end up being sidelined, forced to be off their feet. The same can be said about those who work too hard for too long and suffer burnout. They find themselves mentally and emotionally exhausted, often quick to anger or irritability and their productivity diminishes like a slow setting sun, but without the pretty sunset. 

What if taking Purposeful Rest could not only curtail burnout, but rather make you stronger, faster, more productive? That’s the argument Dugard sites a study that discovered a positive correlation to running performance from those who take one month off each year for a five-year period. The runners who purposefully took 30 days off from running each year, came back with denser muscle tissue and were able to achieve a quicker pace and run longer. It seems contrary to everything we have ever believed and been taught.  The same myth we have applied to work since the dawn of time. Come in early, stay late, don’t take days off and push that train until it flies off the tracks. 

It appears that message has been wrong, very wrong. In the running community intentional rest has been proven to:

  • Increase Muscle Mass
  • Prevent Injuries
  • Prevent Burnout
  • Bust Through A Plateau

Steve had an idea. What if Purposeful Rest at PunchDrunk could do the same things? He set out immediately with his partner in crime, PunchDrunk Digital’s other managing partner, Marcy Blanshan to learn everything they could about how to best implement the concept within the agency. One Google search and they learned they weren’t the first people to wonder about Purposeful Rest. There were countless articles written about the benefits and “how to” guides on the subject (Google showcased over 24,700,000 search results). They learned that there are a few different names for this type of break such as Intentional Rest, Deliberate Pause, and Conscious Stop. Everyone from Forbes to Psychology Today had written articles about the benefits of Purposeful Rest. Headlines emerged that showed they were onto something:

  • Why You Should Prioritize Intentional Rest
  • How Resting More Can Boost Your Productivity
  • The Surprising Benefits of Intentional Idleness
  • Take It Easy: Reap The Benefits of Resting on Purpose
  • The Benefits of Resting and How To Unplug In A Busy World

But one thing was missing. Nowhere could they find where a company had mandated Purposeful Rest days. They had found companies that allowed Mental Health days to their employees, but across the web they didn’t find where an entire company had closed its doors for a day with the intention of their team collectively taking a rest, a purposeful day set aside for deliberate rest.

So, they decided to be pioneers and in 2024 they divided the work year into three parts and working with Sara Werling, the Director of Business Administration at PunchDrunk Digital they handpicked three days to close the office. They brought the team together for an open discussion about Purposeful Rest, what it means and how to take advantage of it. 

The response was overwhelmingly positive.  

“Really such a great idea, showing how innovative and team orientated PunchDrunk is as a company! Love it!” -Corinna Thompson

“Thank you so much, Steve and Marcy! I’m already making plans for our extra days to recharge. Thank you!!” – Kate Sabbe

“I am so excited about our Purposeful Rest!  I read a bunch of articles yesterday on the topic. This one really stood out.https://www.jcmh.org/intentional-rest-the-five-dimensions-of-wellness/ Happy Resting!” – Ella Mims

And the comments kept coming in. There was no doubt PunchDrunk Digital was on to something, and it wasn’t just a day off. This wasn’t about getting time off work to knock off some home agenda items or get to the grocery store. It was about recharging. Let those work muscles rest. 

It will be very exciting to see how the Purposeful Rest days effect performance and productivity at PunchDrunk Digital and if you are interested in implementing at your organization please reach out to info@punchdrunkdigtal.com and the PunchDrunk team will be glad to share their learnings with you. 

In 2024 the official PunchDrunk Digital Purposeful Rest Days will be: 

March 25th 

June 25th

November 6th