How the Reitoff Principle Can Help You Rest Without Feeling Guilty


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There will always be days when you don’t feel like you can get anything done. Yet, if you’re a goal-getter, wired for progress, discipline, and productivity, a break may make you feel weak.

A systematic review found that a well-time break can boost your productivity and prevent work strain. We know this, but it still doesn’t help the guilt, especially when you have impossible deadlines like an exam fast approaching.

Many people struggle to find the right balance between work and play or being productive and happy.  What if there was a way to embrace rest and free time and allow a bit of laziness without derailing from your goals?

That’s where the Reitoff principle comes in.

What is the Reitoff Principle?

The Reitoff principle is a simple but powerful concept coined by Ali Abdaal, an ex-doctor and productivity geek.

The name “Reitoff” is a play on the phrase “write-off”, which means to cancel or discard something which is no longer useful or relevant. The idea behind the Reitoff principle is that you should write off the day when you find yourself struggling through a piece of work that you consider necessary. 

The Reitoff principle emphasises the need for rest, free time, and some laziness periodically. While it is not an opportunity to ignore your work and procrastinate, it does allow you to catch your breath, clear your mind, and spark your creativity so you can be even more productive. 

If you’re looking to avoid burnout and stress, the Reitoff principle is something to try out. By resting well, you can avoid making mistakes, missing opportunities, or feeling overwhelmed by deadlines or expectations.

How to Apply the Reitoff Principle

The beauty of the Reitoff principle is that it’s easy to apply. All you need to do is plan and be intentional regarding when and how you use it. 

Set aside some time for rest. It doesn’t have to be for the whole day; you can use half a day or a few hours. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you plan it into your schedule so you can rest without feeling guilty. 

Again, don’t abuse the principle. Don’t use it multiple times daily unless you have nothing meaningful to achieve.

Work Well or Rest Well

It is not always easy to stick to a routine. Somedays, you just don’t want any rules. Or it might be you just lack the motivation and discipline to get things done. Instead of procrastinating work and procrastinating fun at the same time and doing low-value activities like doom-scrolling Instagram and TikTok, you can focus on resting well without guilt.

So when next you find yourself going in circles while attempting work, rather than spend a ton of your time doing inefficient and garbage work, use the Reitoff Principle to clear out your desk and rest. Then, come back to work the next day with greater clarity and energy. It’s a win-win; you produce better work, and you don’t wind up feeling guilty.

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