Friday, August 19, 2022

Lessons from Do Nothing: The Down Side of Productivity

My last post talked about what productivity tools I use to keep myself from losing momentum and focus.  And it's true, I feel pretty good when I'm busy and productive, but I also forget that I need down time to recharge.

I'm already forgetting the lessons of a very interesting book called Do Nothing, which I read a couple years ago now.  It's all about how modern society makes us feel like our worth is in how productive we are at any given time, even our "down" time, and how modern an idea this actually is.

Unfortunately for me, it's not just society that makes me feel I need to be productive all the time.  It's also partly the fact that I've chosen the life of an entrepreneur, where hustling is literally how I get paid.  If I slack off, that's time I'm not getting paid for - possibly the biggest pitfall of self-employment.

The rest of being self-employed, I love.  I love that I'm up at nearly 3am writing this just because I felt like doing it.  I love that I get to sleep until late morning tomorrow, and even though I will feel a little guilty, I also know that it's primarily society's attitude toward night owls that makes me feel that way.

I also love that I can work wherever I need to.  The past few months, with my horse being sick, that's been especially helpful.  Before that, before covid, it was helpful because I could sneak work into odd pockets of time: when I was charging my car after taking my nanny kid to school, for instance.

But the productivity demands, the pressure to always be on and always be working, is definitely the most difficult thing about being self-employed.  I can always use the money, so it makes it hard to say no to any work or any chance to work.

I do try to take my rest where I can get it.  I sleep late, as I noted already.  I read every night before going to sleep, even if I'm too tired to read for very long.  I do things with friends and spend time with my horses (and I mean doing fun things, especially lately, now that my horse isn't as sick anymore).  I pursue my other hobbies, such as collecting and photographing dolls.

But it's good to remind myself sometimes that I need to slow down on occasion and give myself a little extra rest, that productivity isn't everything and it's okay to do something for fun rather than having to accomplish things all the time.

What about you?  How well do you manage the work-life balance?  If you feel like you struggle with it, or are too hard on yourself about getting things done, I highly recommend reading Do Nothing!

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