How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. – Annie Dillard
It’s wintry out there tonight.
Some of us have colds and headaches and don’t quite feel up to doing any work.
So what should you do when you feel like that?
Should you rest and recover or should you keep plodding on?
There are a few reasons for asking this – and they have little to do with the temperature.
The first reason has to do with sweatpants.
Writers like to talk about one of the perks of their jobs as being able to work in sweatpants.
No suits or jeans for them – instead it’s a comfy pair of stained sweatpants and they’re off to work.
And the reason they can do that – the reason why no one cares – is that they are judged entirely on what they produce.
Their output is what matters.
If you have a job where output is not the key measure – instead it’s stuff like work ethic or punctuality – then you need to be in the office well-dressed and groomed.
The key, however, is not about output or not.
It’s about power.
When you’re judged on what you make the buyer has the power to like or dislike and buy or not buy.
When you’re not, the person buying your services has to have control in some other way and the best way is to be able to watch you.
Back to plodding.
The second reason has to do with practice versus passion.
What results in output?
What drives it?
If you’re in a job, a partnership, a business – what drives you to do something every day rather than slacking off?
It’s different for different people. Some like the competition. Some do it for the buzz.
What it really comes down to, however, is motivation – both intrinsic and extrinsic.
When you’re motivated to do something you’ll keep going.
Where does that motivation come from?
Some say it comes from passion for your work.
Because it’s the thing that you feel like doing the most.
So, you’ve got to manage that passion – manage that creativity and manage your energy.
If you’re tired and unwell, take some time to recover and recharge.
Others say it’s about practice.
About showing up and doing what you set out to do.
What should you do?
I don’t know.
Sometimes it seems like taking a rest is a good idea.
If you have been reading the odd post on this blog you’ll know that I try and write every day.
Yesterday I didn’t. I used an excuse.
Today, I could have used the same excuse.
I chose not to.
What was the right choice? Was one better than the other?
In a world where there are an infinite number of steps in front of you, stopping on one for a day or so is not the end of the world.
But you’ve got to start moving again to feel alive.
The days don’t wait for you to get your head around how you feel.