It’s like I have these two modes.

In one of them, I can get approximately a thousand things done in a day. I’m on fire, focused, in the zone; I’m not only unstoppable, I don’t want to be stopped. I cross something off the list, dust off my hands and say, “What’s next?”

In the other, it’s a slog to even look up a phone number. Everything feels like “work” or an imposition. I can only think about what I’d rather be doing, if I can even identify something I want to do.

One of these sounds infinitely preferable to the other, but it’s not that simple.

In go-getter mode, not accomplishing something makes me a little anxious. So after taking care of 999 little tasks and chores, when I sit down to read for an hour I get keyed up and end up putting the book down to do Task 1000. I’m much more able to relax in resistance mode, and sometimes I really do need to relax and completely absent myself from the “working” mind-set.

Really, what would be best is an on-off switch to be able to be productive when I need to be (at work, during staff meetings) and to chill out when I can (a rogue free Thursday night, a Sunday of Saint Patrick’s Day). There are ways to make that happen, of course. Coffee, turning off distractions, a quick brisk walk can all get me into my “time to kick the world’s butt” phase. A glass of wine, a good workout, or a long shower can help me unwind and get ready to relax. I guess part of the problem is that with the equivalent of two jobs, it feels like I should be Type A-ing it up at all times. There’s always something more I could be doing–figuring out a new process, typing up instructions, researching venues, creating advertising plans. After too much of that is when I’m glad to let the resistance take over, to say, “I could work on this, but I don’t really feel like it now, and I have time.”

Anyway, nothing enlightening or earth-shattering, but a good reminder: endless accomplishment without enjoyment is ultimately pretty empty. Endless lazy enjoyment without accomplishment gets pretty unfulfilling. I guess it’s best to live with a mixture of the two, and accept that sometimes it will be really hard to flip the switch.

That is, after all, why Mother Nature invented Red Bull.


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