Try to take it easy

We are often putting too much pressure on ourselves and it's not a good approach for life

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I think that we all want to be good people who try to be nice and help others even though the today’s world makes it seem like this is not the case. I try to make others’ lives easier by being respectful of their time and not asking for much of their attention because I know they are busy people with a bunch of stuff on their minds. But then I’ve found myself asking, why am I so often not giving the same treatment to myself.

Speaking out of my own previous experience, my plans and aspirations were very ambitious, but I did not reach the goals that I’ve set for myself, I thought it’s because I’m lazy, or because I’m not good enough, but that’s not it. No one wants to work too much, and working too long tends to produce very diminishing returns as the focus and effectiveness of my work slips, my creativity suffers and, in my opinion, along with time, creativity my most valuable resource as an individual.

What helped me arrive to this conclusion was what I read in a book Drive by Daniel H. Pink which talks about motivation and how to create an environment that nurtures it, mostly from an organisation’s perspective, but it can be applied to leading ourselves as well. It’s an excellent and concise book which I wholeheartedly recommend.

As much as we would like to be incredibly efficient and productive, humans are simply not, and the solution is definitely not to push are selves to the point of burning out, you are not a lesser person for allowing yourself to take it a bit easier. That’s why I started reducing the amount of things on my plate and I think you should consider it as well. There are real benefits to taking the time to rest, recharge and refocus and there are others who agree with this .

This definitely doesn’t mean reducing my ultimate aspirations or accepting that I will not achieve what I want, on the contrary, this means to actually allow myself to focus on the few things I have happening in my life currently so that I ensure I give it my full attention and, more importantly, finish those things before moving on to the next one (or quitting because I realise I don’t actually want it that much, but don’t use it as an excuse). It is even not counter-intuitive once I understood that one of the biggest time wasters I have, and I have more than enough of those, is the constant context switching that just disappears when there is fewer things going on at once.

There is a bazillion of people wrote and talked about this topic on the internet, good and bad (like this blog post)that there is a lot of other resources you can find on how taking a lighter approach ultimately allows us to achieve bigger results. If you want to see more of it I recommend this excellent talk with plenty of other good ideas: Scaling Yourself by Scott Hanselman