This is my dog Bodi. He switches between days of zen and days of zoomies. Today is one of his zen days. He has slept for the majority of the day, and you can bet that tomorrow he’ll be very energetic.
Bodi is just a dog, but there’s one thing I can learn from him: Take days off and use these days to recharge.
I’m one of these people who could theoretically write and publish multiple blogs per day. I praise myself lucky with my fast typing speed and my creative mind. I wrote 32 blog posts, published more than 5000 Tweets and I created and edited tens of website pages in the last 6 months. But during that exact period, I have also experienced a lot of productivity slumps.
The pitfall of restless productivity
So there’s nothing wrong with my productivity. But I still burn out quite often. Sometimes I’m busy with so many things at the same time. Sometimes I want to create so much content in a short amount of time. And sometimes I even work on marketing-related projects on weekends. And then things go wrong.
Last week was one of these weeks. My productivity plummeted and I felt stressed, sad and exhausted: I had been active on Social Media for three weeks straight, weekends included. I wanted to finish too many projects at once, but I couldn’t. I was working on weekends and I was unpleasantly surprised by another job rejection. So last week has been difficult for me. Even though I wanted to do something, I just couldn’t.
The importance of rest
I didn’t know how to get out of this rut. But I did know that I should take some rest.
Like Cal Newport mentions in his book ‘Deep Work’, moments of rest and relaxation are essential if we want to be productive during our work days. But we often forget to set boundaries between work and relaxation. When we work, we’re often distracted by relaxing activities. When we should relax, we still frequently focus on work tasks
The Covid-19 lockdown blurred these boundaries even more. Before the lockdown, we would leave our work stuff at the office. And our commute from office to home meant the end of our work day. We worked and had meetings at the office, and we had dinner and watched television at home.
I’m not saying that work-from-home is unhealthy. But since we started working at home, we’ve had some difficulties to separate work and home. For instance, we frequently feel tempted to work at evenings and weekends. It’s difficult to not look at our office laptops and phones when we’re not working. And this is problematic, because we’re not giving our brain the time to rest and process everything that happened.
Relaxation is refreshening
So relaxation is key. The best relaxation advice is to do something you truly like. Now the thing is, I like engaging on Social Media too. But I realized that last week, being on Online Media was giving me more stress than enjoyment.
So I focused on some other activities: I grabbed the eReader I had neglected for a month and started reading some books I had never read before. I picked up my dusty XBOX One to play some NHL hockey. And I slept a lot. The most important thing: I didn’t pick up my phone or turn on my computer for the majority of the weekend.
It was a very relaxing weekend, and I felt pretty fresh when continuing my work on Monday. I didn’t have any struggles anymore. I’ve been working on as couple of exciting projects, I sent out some job applications, I published a couple of blogs. And it’s only Wednesday. I’ve reached my peak productivity again. But I must make sure to give myself some time off when Weekend arrives.
So, in order to have the days of zoomies (in essence, the days of peak productivity) you must certainly grant yourself some days of zen. Just like Bodi does!
You can also do entirely nothing! Last month, I wrote a blog about the importance of doing nothing.