Being able to perform a task even when you don’t feel up to it is a critical practice. It builds resilience and discipline. However, perpetually performing a task that makes you miserable grinds you down and pays you back with a one-way ticket to utter burnout. This doesn’t mean that the path to ease and happiness is fleeing from any task that brings about discomfort, that breaks down mental resilience, there is a happy middle.
This series is about work, so let’s explore a work-related scenario. It’s Friday afternoon and you’ve been beating at a task for 2 days already and it does nothing but grow in complexity before your eyes, what do you do, do you keep wrestling with it till midnight? Or wait till 5PM, shut down the computer and pretend it doesn’t exist all weekend?
I’ve found something in the middle that doesn’t feel like running into the wall multiple times or raising the white flag at the first sign of adversity, taking a break.
Simply stepping away from work with the intention to return later once you’re no longer overwhelmed with frustration can do wonders to the quality of your work. Due to the advancements of distributed systems and modern computing you can also luxuriate in long mindful pauses like a 1900s mathematician thinking through her next breakthrough.
I’ll be the first to advocate for not working on your weekends, but how amazing is it that you can accomplish in 30 minutes on Sunday what would have otherwise taken you 5 hours on Friday, now that you’re rested and sitting comfortably in your robe?!