‘Guilt Free’ Relaxation
I've just finished my two month position as the first outbound sales representative for a small company in Boston. I was working at least 10 hours each day and putting in time on the weekends, but the results just weren't showing themselves. During my first three weeks I closed a total of $0 in sales.
My boss checked in on me regularly, and it hurt to tell him again and again that no, I hadn't brought home any bacon.
Many of my days dragged on forever. Sometimes I would think an hour had gone by when in reality only ten minutes had passed. Some days I would wake up exhausted at 6AM and fight to get to 5.
During my fourth week I finally hit on a strategy that worked. I closed $1,000 in sales.
By the end of my two month journey I had closed over $10,000, and my boss was very happy with my results. It was a long road, but I was very, very glad to have been successful.
Now, I'm home in California. I have answered about two emails since touching down and have completed no real 'work' since reaching this coast. For the first time in a long time I'm allowing myself to sleep in.
Since I've been home, however, I've felt an emotion that I didn't expect. I felt a sense of guilt. After putting all that effort into being productive, it felt like I was losing ground by putting work aside. I felt guilty because I 'should' be working more.
I put some thought into it, and I think I have at least a partial answer as to why I felt this way. I also think I have a solution.
I think the reason I felt this 'get back to work' guilt was because as soon as I got home I scrapped the idea of making any kind of plans whatsoever. I knew that I was here to relax, but I took no time to consider how these few weeks fit in with my overarching goals.
Exhausted after my two month 'hustle', I took on the simple 'F*** it, I'm going to relax as long as I want' ideology.
I think approaching this time for relaxation with such carelessness is why I feel guilty.
I think I need to think about relaxation in a different way if I want to enjoy it.
If I look at relaxation as an escape from my plans then it only makes sense to feel guilty. If relaxation is an escape then I am losing a lot of ground by taking part.
Thinking about relaxation as part of my plan to achieve my goals, however, completely changes the situation. Logically, it is a necessary time to recharge. Couldn't (shouldn't) relaxation then be a part of my plans?
If relaxation is part of my plan, however, it must have at least two key elements; a start date and an end date. A plan that involves both relaxing and working but doesn't have set dates for each isn't a plan at all.
In order to make this relaxation period 'officially' part of my plan I turned to my calendar. It is now the 22nd of December, and I marked the first of January as my date to rev up the gears and get back to work. Until then, I'm in a much needed recharge mode.
As soon as I marked this date down on my calendar, a sense of relief came over my body. It feels good to have a plan. I know that I'll be up and running again on schedule, and currently I don't feel 'guilty' about relaxing in the present.
It's all part of the plan.
Having placed work on my calendar, I've been able to successfully pull those nagging thoughts out of my head giving me the freedom to enjoy my time with family and friends completely unencumbered.