What A “Sabbath Day” And Productivity Have To Do With Each Other

I know it’s an abstract topic. You’re probably thinking, “what does a Sabbath day have to do with productivity?” Let’s take a step back for a minute. I know we’ve all had a sprouting hope at the start of new years, that 2021 would miraculously snap us back into ‘normality’. Alas, the hope was short-lived, as most of us anticipated, and it left us all chasing our tails as we try to fit into the re-modelled versions of our ‘new norm’ (an overused term by now, I know). 

But there is something that’s stayed the same in society, regardless of the world’s status or the intensity of challenges:

the ‘hustle and hurry’ mentality.

No matter how much our challenges escalate, or the economy crumbles, no matter the sickness or health, the ‘hustle and hurry’ mindset is so engrained in us that it’s one of the only things we can count on being consistent.

But that doesn’t make it healthy. That doesn’t mean we don’t need a break. It just means we tell ourselves we don’t need one, and that brings major consequences in its own right. Many people think that rest reduces productivity, and “if we rest, we rust.” But it’s quite the opposite.

I hope that once you’ve read this blog, you sit back in your chair and smile with glee knowing that you have valid reasons to take a rest. And not just to take a rest, but to choose a day in the week to make completely sacred in rest – to make a Sabbath day.

Understanding The Sabbath

Traditionally, the Sabbath is a very spiritual practice that is believed to be needed every seventh day of the week. It is seen as a holy day of rest. 

And although it’s rooted in spiritual beliefs, it’s also a little broader than that – 

John Mark and Jeff from the podcast Fight Hustle, End Hurry say, “Sabbath is a day. It’s a 24-hour time period that is a practice by which we cultivate a spirit of restfulness for all 7 days of the week.” 

So you see, they’re talking about taking a day off to completely and utterly find rest. It’s a day that you treat so sacred, that nothing interferes with your plans for rest and rejuvenation. And if you manage to do this, you’ll find out just how much of an energy booster it can be. Now, what this day looks like might be different for everyone and I’ll touch on that in a second. But first, let’s look at the key components to forming a day of Sabbath.

The 4 Factors Of A Sabbath

 John Mark and Jeff speak in their podcast about the four elements that you need to make a Sabbath day your reality: 

W O R S H I P / R E C E N T R E

Let’s dive into these to enable understanding the Sabbath even more…


Stop working, stop thinking of working, stop worrying, stop wanting, stop the grind and hustle! 

 It’s so easy to say that we’re “taking a day off”,  but to continue thinking about work, running errands, cleaning the house, or glancing over at our emails. To stop completely means we must release the daily hustle in such a way that it’s completely out of our minds. A Sabbath day is not the same as an ‘off day’ where we do things we need to do like mow the lawn or grocery shop. The only thing you should do on this day is the things that make you come alive. 

The essence of this part of the process is to return to a space of mindfulness, where your attention and engagement is within the moment and experiences of the day, allowing you to relish it without the distractions that we so often find emerging. 


Your mind, body, and spirit

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you imagine resting on a weekend? Mine is a lazy slow coffee in bed. I love those morning chats with the family, and the moments to simply ‘be’ that we don’t find within the week. These are the moments that energize us and enable us to do more.

REST and STOP, go hand in hand. Once you STOP and become mindful, you find a place to REST. 

The way this looks will be different for us all, and it’s often found in the small moments such as the morning coffee in bed, watching a movie, meditating, sleeping in, or taking time to do nothing at all. Rest is rest, in whichever way your body, mind and soul need it.


 Feeding yourself with something that delights your soul makes you feel alive.

This is going to look different for everyone. Yes, this day should involve a physical rest, but it should also involve things that you DELIGHT in – that give you an energy booster and make you feel alive, like someone closed all the tabs on your computer brain. 

For example, when I think of what delights me I think of yoga, climbing, and surfing. These are all physically exerting activities so I have to balance them with rest, but they bring me back to life. My whole family thrives in doing these things and come home feeling like we’ve just pressed the reset button. That being said, good sleep and an afternoon nap follow if my body wants it (making sure you tick off the ‘rest’ box above). 

W O R S H I P / R E C E N T R E

If your spiritual, this is a day to centre it in your life and bring it towards the forefront and give your time to this. Worship, prayer, deep discussions and spiritual practices are all included. If you don’t consider yourself to be spiritual, this is a day to recentre yourself. This is a time to ground yourself in your purpose and values for the week ahead. Return to your “why” for everything you do and place it in the centre of your mind for the week ahead.

Restfulness Boosts Productivity

So, I’m sure that just by reading the above you will feel a great desire to implement a Sabbath day in your house. It’s an intentional, beautiful way to recharge. And by doing this, not only do we push against the spirit of restlessness, anxiety, worry, stress etc. but we invite calm productivity that can last for the whole week ahead. And, it can boost your productivity too. 

 A great example of this is the experiment carried out in Sweden about the “future of work”, where they reduced work hours. The result was fewer sick days, and even increased productivity! We see similar results across the world where they have introduced 3 day weekends. 

But we can’t all have reduced hours or 3 day weekends. And that is why we need to dig into our Sabbaths and make them super sacred. This way we can still benefit by starting our week off strong, alive, awake, centred, and happy. All this acts as a major energy booster, making you ready and able to contribute to our world. 

 Make A Start   

Contemplate the days that you’re off and choose one of them that you know you’re least likely to be called on for work or responsibilities of any kind. Decide on this day with your family and make sure everyone’s in on the deal. Remember, you’re going to make this day the highlight of your week that you look forward to – that’s why it’s important to make sure you’re doing stuff you love, with people you love. Try to excite your loved ones about the idea of it. 

“Start where you are, not where you think you should be.” If you can only do a few hours of a Sabbath, that’s still a good place to start. You might also need a smaller start, such as starting with simple practices like turning off your phone, sleeping in an hour, taking a half-hour to pray or meditate, or spending an hour of undivided attention with loved ones.

Deciding On Your Sabbath Activities 

As I mentioned before, the way your day looks will be very personal. You can’t compare your Sabbath to your friends Sabbath, because the things that make them stop, rest, delight, and worship/recentre will be vastly different to yours. 

So here’s a starting point for you to paint a picture around your Sabbath day: 


List all the things that you know you struggle to put aside on the weekend. All the things you can’t stop worrying about, the work you always think of or do, the things that make you feel overwhelmed or restless. On your Sabbath day, take a look at this list and make a deal with yourself to put it out of your head. Every time you find it creeping in, visualize a big whiteboard eraser wiping it clean. 


List all the things that you view as absolute rest – when you think of it, you almost take a deep breath and melt into a chair. 


List all the things that make you feel alive – that you delight in and feel like a complete energy booster. Preferably, hopefully, some of these things your family delight in too. Maybe it’s a walk in the forest, picnic on the lawn, painting with your kids, or cooking with the family. Consider which of these can be included in your Sabbath. 

Side note:
If it’s active (like my climbing and surfing), don’t let this take up the entirety of your Sabbath otherwise you will probably still feel tired, as you need to physically rest too. Plan it in a way to allow total rest after. 



If you have strong spiritual beliefs, this will be the time to pray, meditate, read, or journal spiritual thoughts. If you don’t consider yourself to be spiritual, use this time to cultivate deeper meaningful conversations with loved ones, and to align your family with morals and values. This is a beautiful opportunity for anyone with kids to introduce fun, interesting ways of having conversations around topics that need a parent’s guidance such as how do we treat others, what ways are we living into our values, and what was a lesson we learnt in the week that just passed? 

Let It Be Organic 

After you decide on your Sabbath day and the ways it will cultivate a spirit of restfulness, let it flow organically. There’s no need to stick to a strict schedule or get uptight about things not going as planned. Remember, this must be a day of no worry, a day of stop, rest, delight, and worship/recenter. And the more you treat it as such, the more it will become so.

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