For the most part, I’ve seen that as a good thing. When I’m organized and focused, I can accomplish a lot. When I set my mind to something, I make progress.
I can learn more and do more in any given period of time than most people can (barring any over-commitment, which is something I’ve been working on over the past few years).
However, the “always-going, always thinking” mindset that I have is a killer on my downtime.
My “free time” is often filled with work. Sometimes I work on developing a side business (like with my music) or I strategize about further growth for my digital marketing business. Sometimes I work on creative endeavors. Video games are my go-to when I want something fun to do, but those are often competitive or strategic in nature.
Even with my free time, I don’t rest.
And a couple of days ago, I started to realize why.
I had about two hours before I went to work (oh, yeah, I picked up an extra seasonal job this year), and I sat down, asking myself, “What am I going to do for these two hours?”
So, I started sorting through the things I could do.
“Well, I could play a couple of games of League of Legends. But there’s no guarantee I’ll win one of those. I could try to get some more reading done, but I’m already mentally exhausted. I could play some Eve Online, but what sense of accomplishment am I going to get from that in just two hours?”
And that’s when it hit me.
“What sense of accomplishment am I going to get from doing this?”
“What will make me feel the most accomplished? The most valuable?”
Over the next day, it all started coming together.
For me, accomplishing “something” makes me feel good. If I’ve made progress, I feel like the day wasn’t wasted. If I’m not making progress on something, I’m anxious and uncomfortable. I have to be thinking, growing, developing, creating, progressing, ANYTHING to make sure that I don’t feel like my time spent was a complete waste.
But I’m having to accept that accomplishing things doesn’t make me valuable.
Making progress doesn’t make me worth something.
If my sense of value and happiness hinges on whether or not I’m accomplishing something in every given moment, then I’m going to be disappointed, dissatisfied, and broken. My mind and body aren’t meant to keep up with that kind of lifestyle.
Real rest is more important than I had given it credit for.
I know that not everyone has this problem – but I connect with highly-driven people on a regular basis, and I have a feeling that quite a few of us struggle with this mindset (or something similar).
So I want to remind you, just as I’m learning right now: Whether you are successful, or not; whether you accomplished all you wanted today, or not – you are valuable.
And you are valuable when you are sitting down, mind blank, doing nothing. That time is not wasted.
Remember that, and rest.