When I’m sitting painting my models, sometimes I catch myself being so focused on getting the paint just right that I realize I’ve been holding my breath. The funny thing is that by holding my breath I’m actually making it harder to do what I want. It’s another one of those counter-intuitive situations where your body does one thing when the opposite is a better course of action, like tensing up in a car crash or panicking in a burning building.
So, it should it be no surprise that one of the best ways for me to do better work is to not work for a bit. This popped into my head as I took some time off over the holidays. The number of times I heard friends or relatives mention “Technically I needed to use up my time off, but I’ll still probably be working anyway so I can get more done” was astounding. You scheduled time off, why aren’t you actually Odd! This is even more the case when we remember that being well rested and relaxed leads to higher productivity.
I know the roots of this go beyond a blog post, getting into issues of corporate culture, ideas about work ethic, and American culture more broadly. But I ascribe to the notion that something big must start small, and each of us can do our part to change this. Remember that time off is the needed counterpoint to work. You’ll do more and better work when you’ve had a chance to rest and recharge. Don’t view your PTO as a burden, but as part of your compensation. They expect you to not work for that time, so use it!
If you’d like to talk more about lifestyle choices and their financial repercussions, contact me! And in the meantime, remember to breathe!