One of my resolutions for 2018 is to decelerate and pause productivity. What do I mean by this? In a post not long ago I told you about a period in my life where I had lost the passion for my job. In the post, I describe how the environment that I was working in had suppressed my spark and initial excitement for my profession – ultimately leaving me depressed and discouraged. After reflecting my mini-depression I have realized that I unconsciously played a big role in burning myself out as well. To be fuelled by your passion you need to be able to refuel – and I didn’t give myself that option.
You know that I am a big advocate for productivity (duh, that’s probably why you’re here). I enjoy using my time in an effective and purposeful manner. So much so, that I unintentionally started planning out every hour of every day. No matter if it was a workday or on the weekends (you know, usually the time where you’re supposed to relax and put your feet up). I submitted myself to this self-imposed pressure of ideal productivity.
My wake-up call happened one Sunday morning. I had had a stressful week with long hours at the agency which meant the housework had been secondary all week and the apartment was an absolute mess. Saturday had been filled with family obligations leaving all of the housework for Sunday. That morning I got up, already conducting a list in my head of all of the chores that had to be completed by Sunday night to have a spotless apartment for the upcoming week. The list was so long that I knew I wasn’t going to be done until very late that day. So I sat down on the couch and just started sobbing uncontrollably. I was literally feeling sorry for myself because I had chores to do. Looking back on it now I remember that even at that moment I felt so ashamed of my childish behavior. But I couldn’t help it – I just felt so tired and defeated. Eventually, my boyfriend came to the living room asking me what had happened. I explained my dilemma to him. He just looked at me confused and said: “If you don’t want to do it, just don’t do it.”
It’s that simple. Funnily enough, this has been such an epiphany for me. Since then I have been much more cautious with my time. And I have realized that sometimes the most productive thing you can do is to simply relax. In this blog post, you can find a few rules that I have obliged to since that infamous day. I hope that they will help some of you to not make the same mistake I made with my own well-being. Burning yourself out is a thing, but it can be prevented.