Work sucks when you know you need to do it. But work is easy and effortless when you want to do it. I’ve found that I dread the weeks or days that I feel under pressure to get work done. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when too many obligations stack up. Every minute of the day you’re not tending to these obligations feels like a burden. It feels like you can never just get to work when you need to.
The exact opposite is true when you spend the whole day having fun. Work almost feels like a welcome break after a while. And often on these days you are more productive. Spend the whole day sitting outside, enjoying the sun, and then come home in the evening with some ideas and focus (provided you don’t enjoy the day by getting tanked)!
There is a popular belief that you work better under pressure. I feel this is not the case. Or to be more accurate this isn’t exactly the case. I think we work better under ‘high energy’ and even though pressure can create some energy through tension and stress, it’s not ideal. Stress isn’t always enjoyable and the introduction of pressure into our work lives tends to have a few side effects such as: making your work stressful (ok that’s obvious), limiting your engagement (do I actually care about what happens or just that this gets done), and poor attention to detail.
So we can energize our batteries in other ways. Whether it’s socializing with friends or having a jam session with your band or going to the gym or going for a hike. Figure out how to structure your day to do more that matters to you first.
But you won’t be able to develop any energy if your time spent having fun is burdened by worrying about work. The opposite will happen - you’ll create stress and lose energy. Doing energizing tasks while you’re stressed about work will just feel like more work. This is just time wasted. Settle your work and cancel your social/fun obligations until you have a surplus of ‘fun time’ for each hour of ‘work time’. Then structure your day so that you can maintain such a favorable ratio.
More play and less work allows you to be more engaged, have more energy, and enjoy your work. If you enjoy the work you’ll do it better. If you don’t enjoy it you’ll take shortcuts and look for the easy way out. This isn’t about finding passion. It’s about maintaining a positive energy level. If you aren’t being mindful of this your passion can easily turn into misery.