I legitimately can’t tell the difference. I had two writing tasks I wanted to do last night, and I didn’t do them. Instead, I cooked dinner for the week and finished reading a book. I also worked my 9–5 before that.
All in all, I told myself it was relaxing. I slept like a rock when I finally laid down. I could call it productive because I cooked food for the rest of the week. However, I woke up this morning feeling behind and lethargic.
I lost this day of work that I’ll never get back. The Voice keeps saying “You’ll never catch up.” The best I can fight back with is, “Yeah but at least I enjoyed myself.” And I did enjoy cooking and reading. But I also enjoy writing.
That’s the “funny” part about all this creativity stuff. For some reason doing the work isn’t the default state. Watching TV and conserving my energy is the default state. It’s the thing I slide to most easily without an outside force or the rare blessing of motivation. I have some internal motivation, but it’s like a candle, not a bonfire.
I wonder how many of these candles are blown out by the ease of relaxation. I wonder if I’m about to blow mine out by labeling my Tuesday evening as lazy rather than relaxing.
The truth is I wasn’t relaxed while I was cooking. I was distracted. The entire time I thought, “I should be writing.” And I don’t believe many people would label cooking as a lazy activity. I know I can’t constantly sprint, writing four hours a day and working a full-time job every day. I might go crazy (if I haven’t already). But I also know I don’t want to be the kind of person who says they’re going to do one thing and then do another.
The best thing I can think of, the solution I’ll be implementing, is to schedule my relaxation like I plan my work. Then protect both with everything I have.
I use this journal to write down what I want to do every day. I want to be more religious about only writing down things I know will be done, which means that I write down relaxation activities (like cooking and reading) as much as I write down work (like writing and marketing).
I know I’ll never get it perfect. But my goal is to quit biting off more than I can chew. Because when I do that, it doesn’t help me stay productive. Yesterday I bit off more than I could manage. I knew I needed to cook, but I didn’t plan it into my schedule for Tuesday.
The second part of this solution is to forgive myself when my plans fail. I hate losing time; sometimes I can feel it passing me by like I’m a rock in a rushing river. Last night is gone, and that hurts, but soon tonight will be gone as well. If I spend today upset about what went wrong yesterday, I’ll never be able to make tonight better.
I’ve iterated, faced the problem, outlined a solution. Now it’s time to move past it improved. I hope you can do the same or similar.
Find Peace in Progress,
Reposted from a blog post first published 2019–02–27 here on Medium