At first we can’t rest normally, then we procrastinate and can’t work normally, then we work longer to achieve the planned results. Vicious cycle?
I often say that there is no work-life balance as all 24 hours a day are life. It’s more about life balance. How you choose to spend these 24 hours is how you want to live.
As in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations,
“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work—as a human being. What do I have to complain of, If I’m going to do what I was born for—the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”
Thus, when we work, what we do is how we see ourselves, bringing value to the world and to ourselves at the same time.
Quality rest matters
Sounds good, but in practice we may find ourselves in a situation where there is basically only work, especially when we enjoy what we do. Problem? It might seem not, because isn’t it ideal to do what you enjoy? Apparently not ideal if you do it all the time without any real quality breaks.
This week I had dinner with my family, so I had to have no work in the afternoon, and no work to think about. The next morning I felt really relaxed. Boom, rest counted. And it really didn’t count before after a weekend full of productivity, or a week before full of evening discussions, etc.
So why do I feel tired and procrastinate?
The problem with long non-stop doing the same activity is the lack of quality rest from this activity.
You think you are resting, but in fact you keep thinking about work and mentally keep working, especially if you like what you are doing. The mind cannot relax. And if the mind is not relaxed and refreshed, we tend to procrastinate more because of fatigue. Then, to achieve our goals, we work even longer. And then we find ourselves asking “Why do I feel tired and procrastinate?”
Worse still, fatigue often goes unnoticed until it becomes too obvious. Until then, we think everything is alright. It’s just “work isn’t going today” or “my muse isn’t with me today”.
Should we force ourselves to have a qualitative rest when we really escape from the usual flow of things or thinking? Probably yes, at least that’s what I’m going to put more into my schedule on a regular basis.
A broad reading on the topic with many different causes of procrastination, including medical ones, can be found here: Psychology of procrastination.
And here is a post about a quick tip that I call the “5 second rule”, or how you make your mind to start a task you usually skip, including skipping due to procrastination.