Those of use who are Type A like to get stuff done. In fact, that’s one of the traits of being Type A, among so many others. Our qualities aren’t always seen as a good thing, but we keep on keepin’ on because, let’s face it, that task list isn’t going to get itself done.
But when is being productive bad for you?
The short answer is when it takes its toll on the body.
Last weekend was busy for me. It was not my ideal weekend. I had a meeting on Saturday morning that went quite a bit longer than I expected, I had dinner plans for the evening, and between those two events, I rushed around trying to get groceries bought and put away and clean up the kitchen. I did nap, but not nearly long enough. On Sunday I went to church and was there longer than I expected. My plan for after church was to clean whatever was on the rotating list.
But by the time I got home, I was so dog-tired. Not just sleepy, which I was, but also my body was just tired. So tired, in fact, that the mere thought of cleaning the house was just too much for me. So, in a very not-me move, I decided to chuck my to do list.
I sat down at my desk, looked at my list, crossed off items that didn’t need to be done and moved the other stuff to a different day. (I did take care of the things that truly needed to be done, but most of that was quick computer work.)
I could argue that the reason for my fatigue was the lost hour from Daylight Savings Time. But the truth is, I’ve been pushing myself to go, go, go for far too long, and it finally caught up with me.
I feel like I cry “too busy” all of the time. But sadly, it’s true. Well, more specifically, I’m not so much bogged down with tasks, though I will admit to creating more tasks for myself than is at all necessary, but I’m also just busy—busy going here and there, meeting this person for drinks, that person for dinner, stopping by my mom’s after work, rushing to a meeting, or trying to squeeze in a yoga class because I feel guilty for not having gone in several months. (As an aside, I have wanted to get back to it for a while but decided to wait until things calm down so that I don’t push myself too far—it doesn’t feel natural to me, but I’m glad I did it.)
And it’s not that I don’t enjoy these things. I do, a lot. But they all seem to happen at once.
And of course it doesn’t help that my accountant husband has been working 12-hour days since New Years. This is not a complaint, since he (and by proxy, me) willingly signed up for that. It just adds to the busyness—a lot of the house stuff falls to me right now, and by the time he comes home at night, I’m ready for bed, but in order to talk to him for more than 5 minutes, I end up staying up later than I can really handle. It is what it is, and at this point, we’re just trying to survive the next month until the end of tax season.
In any event, there comes a point when I can just no longer push myself to finish a task list or go to one more meeting/appointment (work aside because I do get paid for that).
My past yoga experience has taught me to listen to my body and give it what it needs—because if you don’t, you’re just setting yourself up for further problems. So, last Sunday, after rerouting my tasks, I took a nice long nap. I didn’t clean a damned thing. I didn’t work on any projects. I am—my husband is—lucky that I made dinner because that was about all I could handle. I came home after work all week. I made a point to go to bed as early as possible each evening. And I feel so much better for it.
So far this weekend is shaping up to be a little busier than I had intended, but nothing that I can’t handle. I treated myself to a reflexology appointment this afternoon and I’m heading into the weekend with a “whatever gets done gets done” attitude. I’m trying to shed that feeling of urgency to get stuff done. I do hope to get more done this weekend than I did last weekend, but if I don’t, so be it.
Even though I love to get stuff done, to cross items off of my to do list, to not waste a minute of time, I also realize that sometimes you just need to put down the planner, the task list and relax. It goes to that saying of “put on your own air mask before helping someone else with theirs”—if you don’t take care of yourself first, you are no good to anyone else.
And really, simply, life is too short to not take time to smell the roses once in a while, even if those roses just happen to be on a bedspread.