I’ve Been Practicing Taking Breaks

While I know that I am the source of most of the pressure I feel to be productive and to do most of the stuff on my to-do list in a timely manner, I can’t help but feel like it is easier to find better ways to work than to address the monumental issue that is how much of my self-worth is derived by being productive. Nothing highlights this more than times like right now, as I’m working on catching up with everything I didn’t do for the full week I was feeling exhausted and out of it due to sleep deprivation and stress caught in a horrible feedback loop that is taking me multiple weekends to break out of. I have a simply massive task list since I wrote down everything as it came up last week (I’m pretty good at recognizing that my memory is going to be faulty once I reach a certain level of exhaustion), and it has been a struggle to ride the fine line between productivity and rest. After all, it won’t do me any good if I get a lot done in one day but wind up tiring myself out so that I’m useless again the day or two after that.

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Dusk Reflected In Windows

The final moments of my work day follow a similar routine. I empty bottles, sort pens and notepads, turn off my fan, unplug my lights, settle my sweatshirt and jacket into place, steady a mask on my face, sling a bag over my shoulder, and perform three quick keyboard shortcuts on my computer. As I linger for a moment, still uncertain after years of practice that I have performed the proper functions, I feel the familiar weight of my bag, now light for the empty bottles and lunch containers, slip from where I had slung it to its familiar position. It will stay there, despite my best efforts, as I move down halls and through doors to leave my workplace behind in favor of the outside world, my car, and whatever my evening has in store.

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