We report a prospective, randomized pilot study comparing a new workbook-based program, designed to teach patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) energy conservation behaviors, with standard occupational therapy (OT). Sixteen patients took part in the new program and nine received the standard therapy. Data on the number of tender or swollen joints, grip strength, walk time, activities of daily living, psychologic adjustment to illness, and daily activity log, were measured before and three months after intervention. Eleven percent of those who received standard therapy and 50% of those who received the workbook increased their amount of physically active time (p = .10). Twenty-two percent of the control group and 50% of those in the workbook group achieved a better balance of rest and physical activity (p = .07). We conclude that the adoption of energy conservation behaviors is different in the two groups. This initial study suggests that interrupting physical activity with rest periods may result in increased physical activity in patients with RA.