I don’t feel great standing still. Are you are like me in this way?
If I’m not moving forward, there’s a part of me that nags “What should you be doing right now?” If you want to stop feeling guilty about taking some time to yourself, it helps to do some smart thinking. This involves practical techniques, as well as some interesting psychological exercises that I’ll discuss toward the end of this post.
- Know why you’re working in the first place.
Are you “tasking-up” because without distractions you have to face something you don’t want to feel or think about? I know I do this.
The key here is to distinguish between positive and negative motivation. Negative motivation means running from your fears, using our “busy-ness” as a defense mechanism, or working hard to avoid feeling like a failure. Positive motivation means moving toward something – a legitimate goal that fits into your long-term plan.
For me, when my work is out of negative motivation, it takes on a hurried or “driven” quality. When it’s positive, I tend to feel more focused and excited.
- Keep your task management system up to date.
If you’re a busy person with a lot of commitments it’s simply no fun to take an evening off while you toy with the vague notion that you’re forgetting about something important tomorrow. An up-to-date task management system will free up your subconscious and let you chill out a bit already.
- Schedule your time off and take it seriously.
The most productive people are able to guard their personal time well. They realize that the need for down-time, reflection, and self-connection are essential to high-level functioning.
- Be OK with feeling crummy.
You can’t always will yourself to have fun. Don’t give yourself the ultimatum to feel GREAT in your time off. Maybe you’ll be tired, maybe even sad. There’s no rule that not working=happy. And maybe not feeling 100 percent today is your body’s way of recuperating and resting up.
- Be OK with feeling Great!
Then again this isn’t an excuse to waste the day in misery!
If you find during your time off that you obsess over work or aren’t enjoying yourself, try feeling a bit of compassion for yourself. Most of us are far harder and more demanding on ourselves than we would ever be on someone else.
Here’s a cool exercise you probably haven’t tried. Try viewing yourself in the third person. Just take a second and visualize yourself from the outside as you would look standing across the room and think something along the lines of “This guy (or gal) is worked to the bone. He worries all the time. Listen friend, just take it easy and enjoy life a bit!”
This isn’t being sappy and feeling bad for yourself – it’s giving yourself the permission to be human; looking at yourself objectively and taking your needs as serious and not secondary. Give it a shot and you might be surprised at how kind you feel toward that person across the room.
So that’s it – BE LAZY and enjoy your time off. Then get back to work. What do you think? How do you like to disconnect and recharge? If you have some tips for getting the most out of your time off let me know in the comment section below!