The recurring theme in the last week of my life was the value that we (Americans) place on giving 110% of ourselves to maintain constant productivity. We are slaves to it. If you’re like me, you’ve experienced major burnout, given up time with friends and family, felt guilty about taking time off, and been afraid to say that you were overwhelmed.
When I quit my job, the feeling of not being tied down to something was almost uncomfortable. I felt off kilter because I didn’t know how to give all the time that I had been giving to the workforce back to myself. I wondered if I was allowed to sleep in. Would it be okay if I did nothing? I was worried that everyone in my circle would be keeping tabs on my productivity.
I often worry that sitting outside in the sunshine with my notebook and my thoughts doesn’t look enough like a hustle. I’ve been conditioned to believe that finding a sense of fulfillment in a career is for the birds. Success is measured by how much money is in my bank account and not by how happy I am with my life.
I’m not just talking about being unemployed either. I’m talking about the constant need we have, even when we’re working our buns off, to fill every second that we’re awake with productivity. Even as we sleep, we think about the things we’ll need to do when we’re awake. We call a lack of productivity “being lazy” instead of just resting or choosing joy (credit to my friend Jack for this).
It’s okay to not wash the dishes right away. It’s okay to take a nap in the middle of the day. It’s okay to give yourself a break every once in a while. I’m not encouraging everyone to stop being productive. I’m just suggesting that we stop feeling guilty for not busting ass every second. Say no to the voice that makes you feel guilty for taking a moment to yourself. And say yes to the siesta.