Oops! I Did It Again!
It was Sunday and I planned to get some business work done.
But, instead of working, I stayed in bed all morning reading long chat threads and emails on my phone, got up for lunch, and then proceeded to lie around the rest of the day playing Solitaire on my phone.
That night I was feeling very critical of myself for having frittered the day away.
Do you know that horrible feeling of wanting to get some work done, but for some reason you just keep doing nothing?
The next morning, Monday, I reached for my phone when I woke up (to turn off the alarm) and instead of doing my morning checklist I looked at chats and emails and then I opened up my solitaire app and . . .
. . . the next time I looked at the clock, the day was over!
Now I had wasted two days!
While I had been hanging around playing my game I also:
had not done any other work/chores (laundry etc.)
had not exercised
had not taken a nap
had not even done anything just for fun
Despite knowing lots of tips and tricks to avoid getting sucked into games, I was not using any of them.
That’s when I remembered that I had worked through the previous weekend and had so had not had a break in over two weeks.
Was there a relationship between my relatively sudden inability to just not start a game and the previous fourteen days straight of working?
Working through the weekend had not seemed to be a problem at the time. The work had felt easy and I had no problem concentrating.
In fact, I had been extraordinarily productive.
On Tuesday I decided to try an experiment.
I would give up trying to get any business work done and do "restorative" activities instead looking at my phone.
I went for a swim with my friends, danced around the house to great oldies music a few times, did a little crochet and took a couple of short walks with my husband.
When I woke the next day, I easily started the day with my normal morning checklist.
I was back on track.
Restorative Rest Activities
Restorative rest is doing those activities that are fun or recharge your emotional energy and they are different for everyone.
For example, my restorative activities include:
Short crochet projects (see picture below 🙂)
Swimming with friends
Taking a nap
Dancing to really fun music
Getting to bed at a decent hour
What did I learn?
I learned that:
I need to give myself days off, even when I don’t see the need, or even feel I deserve one.
I need to figure out a method that will allow me to notice when I start wasting time.
If I find myself wasting time, I need to find a way to remember to ask myself why?
I also learned to ask myself the following questions:
Have I been sleeping well?
Have I been working too much?
Have I been worried about something?
Have I been skipping out on restorative rest*?
Taking a problem solving approach helps me to avoid the demoralizing trap of self-criticism.
In this case, I decided that I had not been allowing myself restorative rest.
It turns out that taking a break from work to intentionally perform a restorative activity, even if only for an hour or two, is a good way to get myself working again.
I also learned that playing solitaire on my phone is not a restorative activity for me. (If it were, I would have felt happier and more rested as I played).
For me, making room for restorative activities is not optional, but a necessary part of my schedule.
How will you notice when you are “frittering” your day away?
What are your restorative activities?
It happens to everyone
It's true that everyone has trouble now and then with getting their work done despite distractions and temptations.
It's also true that those of us with interest-based brains are particularly susceptible to them as well as sometimes working nonstop due to hyper-focusing.**
Including restorative activities in your day might help with both!🐙
* "How To Keep House While Drowning" by KC Davis
(Restorative rest is discussed in chapter 25)
"How To Keep House While Drowning, a gentle approach to cleaning and organizing"
Published April 26, 2022 by S&S/Simon Element
Hardcover, 160 pages
by KC Davis, Licensed Therapist
** ‘Hyperfocus’ is a phenomenon that reflects one’s complete absorption in a task, to a point where a person appears to completely ignore or ‘tune out’ everything else.
Ashinoff, B. K., & Abu-Akel, A. (2021). Hyperfocus: the forgotten frontier of attention. Psychological research, 85(1), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-019-01245-8