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Lesson from my weekend with EZE: “Stopping does not equal recovering.”


 One of the challenges of being self-employed and living with somewhat self-imposed deadlines is that, if you’re like me, you’re kind of always working. While I love that I can take off for a weekend, or a week, and work with a view like this one...

...it also means it’s hard to shut off the work switch. I find myself constantly feeling guilty when I don’t feel I was productive enough or didn’t cross enough things off my list. So there I’ll be, on a massage chair getting a pedicure thinking about a story I should have submitted, laying by the pool not totally present and enjoying the sun because a pang of guilt is telling me to go finish that blog article, or even guilt-tripping myself between sets of back squats.

I’m sure many of you self-employed folks can relate.

It doesn’t have to be this way, and I have been determined lately to make a change. 

On the first day of my five day retreat to Kelowna this past week, I read a short Harvard Business Review book—Emotional Intelligence: Resilience—in the sun, and one of the chapter titles was: Resilience is about how you recharge, not how you endure.

One of the points made was: “Most people assume that if you stop doing a task like answering emails or writing a paper that your brain will naturally recover, that when you start again later in the day or the next morning you’ll have you energy back…”

This isn’t true because:

“Rest and recovery are not the same thing. Stopping does not equal recovering.”

I felt like this book was written just for me!

I’m good at stopping work, but I’m not good at letting go of work. My wheels are always turning, even when it appears I’m relaxing by the pool.

I legitimately had work to do this weekend, so it’s not as if I could take five days off completely, but what I did, and what worked really well, was placing limits on myself. I didn’t make my usual list and put pressure on myself to adhere to it. Instead, I decided I could probably get everything done in about 10 hours this weekend. So I decided I’d give myself the morning hours to work—2 to 3 hours each morning and then TURN IT OFF and live in the moment.

The result: I ended up having really great two-and-a-half hour work sessions, and then spent the rest of the day really appreciating the fact that I was staying in a gorgeous hotel by the lake with a pool and hot tub, where we drank Cesar's with aggressively edible garnishes...and a pretty impressive hotel gym...

...Not to mention a VIP lounge (what can I say, I have VIP friends) filled endless charcuterie and espresso and wine. It meant that I was more in the moment and focused during my many long-winded hot tub and dinner conversations with EZE...

Love this girl!

and felt zero guilt as I was getting my nails and toes done...

 

And on top of this, I got absolutely everything done work-wise that I needed to; in fact, my sessions were probably more focused and productive than my sometimes disjointed, guilt-ridden sessions where I’m beating myself up for not working fast enough.

And the best part is, I’m feeling refreshed and ready to get my coaching, writing and MadMeal cooking on when I get back to Van this week.