I pretty much slept all day yesterday. In between naps, I thought about how I recommended to y’all that pushing on a thing just a little harder will likely get you far greater results. And here I am spending a Thursday passed out.
I forgot to include in that newsletter the flipside of working harder… which is resting harder. The goal is not to work yourself sick or miserable. So how do you know when to push harder and when to rest?
Well, I think you actually know. It’s all inside you. But, in case you could use a metric of some sort, here are some of mine.
I push when I can do so with strength, good form, and joy. Hit the plus button on the treadmill when I’m pretty sure I can hang on without running myself ragged. I might be tired but if I can keep working, I do.
It’s time to rest when I start hating the work that usually brings me joy. Crankiness, no joy, means it’s time for rest.
Or mistakes start happening. Good form is not so good. I apply this one with contractors of all sorts… if it’s the end of the day and someone hits their finger with a hammer or something silly, I call it quits. I quit with the little mistake because the big bad mistake is not far behind. When my eyes start crossing and I have a hard time seeing, it’s quitting time.
Sometimes rest can look like switching tasks. This is what I do when there’s a lot to do or I’m not tired but joy is slipping. But it has to be a completely different task that uses completely different parts of my brain and body. From editing photos (focused computer task) to something standing up and away from the computer: watering plants, walking outside to make phone calls, etc.
Sometimes we just have to rally. I believe in keeping my commitments, which means that sometimes I have to do a thing even when I’m tired. But then plan accordingly. I save whatever energy I have for that thing, coffee and nap for an hour, maybe an ibuprofen beforehand, and then back to resting afterward.
Strength, good form, and joy. If strength and form are going out the window, Rest. If you’re burnt out, joy has gone out the window, and recognize it as such. Just rest.