Saturday, 16 July 2011

Work, rest and play?

I’m pretty good at working – not just in my day job, which I do alright at, but at home as well: you might notice I’m always ‘working’ on things like this blog, or my stories and songs.

I’m also pretty good at playing too – I go out with my friends, have fun, watch a movie or engage in some other past-time.

I’m less good at resting; I really struggle to just…stop. When I do, I feel like I’m wasting time: I feel guilty for not doing the other, more productive, things on my list. Consequently, I often have days when I get up, go and do a day’s work, then come home and immediately crack on with some writing, uni work, music or website creation. It can be 10/11 o clock at night before I finally down tools and go to bed.

If you discount meal breaks, that’s easily 12 hours of ‘work’ a day.

Even if I go out of an evening, I’m not really ‘resting’ – it can be a lot of effort to get ready, be sociable (especially on days when I’m not on top form), and if I’m performing at an open mic, then that’s a different sort of ‘work’ as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all these things, very much so. Many of them I class as ‘leisure time’ and I’m very grateful to have the time, ability and privilege to pursue so many different interests. But I do get tired and burn-out for a time every now and then.

Does anyone else struggle with this? How do you deal with the ‘guilt’ of un-productivity? I’m thinking if I organise myself better, manage my time and build in ‘rest’ to my schedule, then I might feel less guilty.

But, again, I’m reminded of songs warning against treating everything like a business-plan. A good friend of mine, John Froud, once sang: ‘I see a world wounded, or should I be blind? Downsize my ambition, better manage my time?’ (John Froud, ‘Finished’. © 2000)

I might not be looking to ‘heal’ the world with much of my work, but it resonates even so…


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