In my imagination, I can picture the Boss of Me looking down disapprovingly at all the time I spend not working. All that time wasted on RSS feeds, coffees, and Facebook — how can it make sense? Trust me — that imaginary situation is not as far off as you think.
Instead of being strictly productive, I spend a lot of my time reading, exercising, meeting up with friends, and spending time on my own happiness — like writing this blog. But there are times when all of these meaningful activities come back to bite me where the sun don’t shine.
What would I be without me?
I may not have someone in my everyday life telling me what to do, but my own brain is much more judgmental than most bosses could ever aspire to be. While my mind tries to put down my me-time, my heart has to continually jump in to prove how important that me-time really is. For example:
- I read up on industry news everyday, but I also spend lots of time learning about minimalism, happiness, being present, and other awesome betterment practices.
- I hit the gym at least four times a week — and I will cancel meetings if I have to. Exercising makes me feel awesome.
- I hit coffee shops with friends in other industries with no agenda or business purpose in mind. We brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other — just for fun.
- I catch up with friends I really care about — online and off. My friends are my sounding board, and they take care of me more than you know.
Make time for yourself. It’ll pay off.
It doesn’t sound productive, but these activities are what make and keep me who I am. It’s me companies come searching for, so I better keep that me at optimal happiness levels.
Tolstoy said it best, and who are we to argue with him?
Happiness consists of living each day as if it were the first day of your honeymoon and the last day of your vacation.
It’s not time wasted. It’s time invested.
Instead of avoiding these activities, like most people do, I embrace them and even schedule them.
- I am most productive ridiculously early in the morning. At the computer by 6am, I can get a whole chunk of reading, writing, and ideation out of the way before lunchtime. My husband doesn’t enjoy my early bedtime, but it’s just how the happiness comes out in bursts.
- Not much happens in my day without checking my favorite websites and RSS feeds — related to both the industry and my happiness. I’ll take any good content I can get my eyes on, whether it will me be better at my craft or just better at being Marcella.
- I put the gym in my calendar at the beginning of the week, and I do not miss a fitness date. Feeling sprite and strong is ultra important to me, and I can’t be creative if I can’t get my miles and pushups in first.
Can you schedule in your favorite activities? Without fuel in your batteries, how productive can you truly be?
Play is work. Work is play.
It’s high time to create the perpetual vacation — the one you live in everyday. The one you cannot even imagine leaving for a week or two.
Kids spend so much time playing, and they are at their happiest on the playground. Ask any mother, and she will say her kids are at their best when they play. Why should we — adults — be any different?
It’s time to program your workday to feel amazing and full of fun and play. It’s time to schedule in the distractions that you need most. Without it, how can you expect to be your best self?