For years, one of the hardest things for me to do was stop working, sit still and do NOTHING.
It was immensely hard, and I’m not a workaholic. I love being done early and thrive on doing laze-about things around the house, but for whatever reason, actually turning off the “go go go!” mentality needed to push myself through a day of writing on my own schedule got very hard, very fast.
Even when I’d spend an entire day relaxing, I’d think to myself “what should I worry about on Monday”. I’d brainstorm ideas, and constantly fret that I’d forgotten something.
It got better through implementation of some tools like Omnifocus and Evernote, but never really to the point that I could shut down and enjoy life every weekend.
So, I finally took a different tact.
Instead of thinking “I WANT to relax”, I shifted to “I NEED to relax”. It was a necessity – something that would help me recharge my batteries for Monday morning and tackle my work with a fervor.
This might not be a mindblowing observation, but it’s all about how you word it.
I know that relaxing is good for me. I know that turning off the “work brain” is the best thing I can do for myself on a week to week basis, but I also know that I have work to do.
I have things that need to get done and the only person in charge of keeping track of it all is me.
If I don’t fret over my schedule, who will?
So, there are a few things here.
- You have to trust your scheduling tools – Even now I sometimes worry about what I’ve forgotten, despite the fact that I have a very good system in place and very rarely forget anything because I have reminders popping up all the time telling me who to talk to, what to write and when to do all of it.
- Relaxing is PRODUCTIVE – Building a scale model of the Millennium Falcon or reading a very non-work related book is GOOD for me. It helps me clear my mind, allows things to process in the background and recharges the thoroughly drained batteries that I have been drawing on all week.
When I started telling myself that relaxation = NEED instead of want it became a lot easier to sit down each day and relax.
Every night, the computer goes off. Every weekend (except when writing these posts), the computer goes off. I shut EVERYTHING down and relax as much as I can because I know that there are times when I have no choice but to work and I might as well be rested and relaxed when that time comes.
If you work at home and have the opposite problem of most freelancers – you can’t turn OFF the work-mode – think of it as another task.
Put it on your todo list (at the top!) and spend time every day thinking about what you can and should be doing to relax and turn off the thinking cap.
Do this and you’ll have not only an easier time, but a more relaxed time when you get back to work later.