I chose to focus on diligence this week for a reason: it’s spring break, and I didn’t want to just let myself fall off the wagon for a week. I’ve met plenty of people who don’t really use this week or doze through it, which seems fine and freeing until you realize that was 9 days of your life that could have been restful, restorative, and productive instead. I have let a lot of breaks pass away with work, stress, and semi-sleep, and it only resulted in semesters coming and going without ever really feeling like I got a break.
This break, I decided to do something different. I went on a road trip with my family, and didn’t bring school books, flashcards, or homework, and did not even allow myself to bring the items that would give me the capacity to do homework. We were only gone a few days, but they were some of the most restful I’ve had in years, because we all took the time to focus on ourselves and each other, and explore a new place together. This is an important, yet underrated, side of diligence: knowing when making an energetic, persistent effort requires taking time off.
Think about it like exercise: if you go with an intense, full-body workout, doing the same thing every single day, before long you’re going to overtrain. While there are different ideas of how much training is too much, the general idea is that when you exercise too much, it wears on your body instead of building it. You have not allowed the time for your body to rest and recover, and because of that, it goes into every workout a little more worn than the last time — instead of getting fit, you’re just getting more tired. Work is the same way: if you work too much, too often, you’re going to wear yourself out. Instead of getting the refreshing taste of achievement and being able to pat yourself on the back, you become obsessed with checking the next box, and the next, until eventually you end up burnt out.
Diligence is not working all day, every day, slowly wearing yourself down. Diligence is putting in the effort you can, and knowing when you need to take a rest in order to enter your work with more energy, passion, and capability to do your very best. This looks different for everyone, because we humans tend to be pretty unique and recharge ourselves in different ways. The thing that stays the same is that, when we take the time off the we need, we are able to work harder and do better when we come back from our little (or big) break.
So, today I’m taking a deep breath of Stress Away, and giving myself ample time to recharge.
How are you resting up this week to ensure diligence when you get back to work?