I've read this post today, titled "The power of doing nothing at all". It talks about benefits of walking away from work for a while to let your mind reset, relax and flow in order to regenerate mental energy and/or come up with ideas to work with.
It also argues for "digital sabbath": taking a day off electronics and wireless communication in order to spend more time more physically-involved, more mindfully with the world.
The same guy, Aytekin Tank, writes this ("How to get more done with less work") on his company blog. It talks about rest, breaks from work and "defined rest" (as opposed to taking whatever time you feel like off, as in with many new companies' Unlimited Personal Time Off policies).
It reminded me of this post by Mark Manson, titled "How To Be More Productive by Working Less". It says that Mark only ever dedicates a few hours of work to something per day because he'd noticed a while ago that, past a certain threshold (1 to 2 hours) the quality of work starts to plateau and then fall (which is linked to how Aytekin Tank noticed his coders seeing more bugs after longer stretches of "crunch time").
I've been thinking about productivity and work for a few years now. I like being productive; I like to see my work end with a tangible result. I don't dislike being lazy; I dislike feeling lazy, 'cause it means I'm wasting my time, and that means... I don't know what, exactly. (Which leads me to think that it's an internalized idea rather than innate, but - longer story)
I know there's a lot of people here that do their thing, and do their thing at a respectable rate. Some people have companies that they run successfully, which, to me, is simply amazing. Some people do several things at once - again, to a successful end.
How do you rest? How do you breathe in? How do you not burn out? What keeps you occupied with any given task?
I've always tried to go about life with the motto "I want to work to live and not live to work." So whenever I've been doing something that starts to drain at my wellbeing I ask myself; how am I progressing my life and is it in the direction I want to go? Which I know probably seems a little dramatic but it's a small bit of introspection that I feel genuinely helps me takes that breath you speak of and exhale with new energy. I have no problem when my life has difficulties and is not necessarily plush but I do have problems when I feel like my life holds drudgery and unfulfilling goal orientation. When that happens I'll often try and take a step back to re-evaluate what I'm trying to do in that moment, then that day, week, month. What am I accomplishing? Is it making me a better person? Is this just a time where I need to buckle down and bust ass; or do I need to step away from this and find something new? Keeping personal projects and skills up are a big part of this for me. I want to feel like I'm bettering myself or my surroundings. I loathe stagnation. When I "breathe in" I want to feel movement in every form. This lets me keep momentum for the work I'm doing and feel positive about the outcome I'm working towards. Which does a lot to fight against a general feeling of "everything is random chaos and nothing really matters". A feeling I can sometimes fall into rather easily.