Time To Rest?

Is it hot as all get out where you are? Holy moly, it is hard to focus when you’re a human puddle.

Summer in Lisbon is beautiful, but it’s also brutal. So on days like this, I give myself tiny tasks to do. If I make any progress on anything, it’s a win.

I put on nice breezy music, work for very short stints, eat ice cubes or frozen berries between tasks, and have a lie down when I’m done.

It’s been a slow-dawning realisation for me, but it’s getting harder to deny: there are seasons to our work.

For me (and I think for most of us), they tend to follow the earth’s seasons. I’m obscenely productive in the autumn and the winter. Spring is usually pretty good too, but summer? My output just craters.

It’s partly the heat, but it’s also the fact that I’ve been hurtling along for 8 or 9 months and somewhere in my subconscious there’s an alarm bell ringing.

You can’t run at full speed all year, no one can.

But somewhere along the line, we picked up the idea that we must work as hard as we are able at all times, and if we slow down or do less, we’re slacking.

It’s just not true. Many times, the situation does not call for our maximum effort.

Creative work can be easy, and often it should be easy.

You don’t have to suffer for it, it doesn’t have to be painful, and you don’t have to treat yourself like a workhorse all year for what you create to be valuable.

So yes, you can work hard for most of the year. Haul ass when it counts.

But then, when it’s too hot to think, or you’ve given every little bit you have to give, dial it back. Do less.

Take a nap occasionally. Go outside during work hours. Let your creativity recharge (and your patience, and your empathy, and your curiosity).

There will always be opportunities to work hard.

But to be able to work hard, you’ve got to be rested. You’ve got to be ready.

So notice which season you’re in, and if it’s time to rest, then roll with it. When the time comes to jump back in, you’ll be ready and raring to go.