You don’t do your best work when you’re depleted

I don’t do my best work when I’m depleted.

This came out in a conversation last week, and it bears repeating because (spoiler alert) it’s true for you, too.

I also recognize the privilege I have, as someone who is self-employed and who can make her own schedule, but let me tell you – old habits die hard.

I spent a decade in an environment that encouraged “always on.” I closed 3 deals on my honeymoon and was absolutely the person who got frustrated when a colleague had the audacity to fully disconnect on vacation. What I didn’t see back then was that everything was fine when that person disconnected. Nothing happened. The world didn’t end, business still continued and he didn’t burn out. I also didn’t see the cost of not disconnecting. I wore it like a badge of honor and many people celebrated my “busy-ness” with me; yet those were the days of over-spending, not loving how I showed up at home and rarely being fully present with anyone.

While these days I am able to make my own schedule, trust me when I tell you that it’s a continuous effort to not overfill that schedule. I did it just a couple of weeks ago, and when I emerged from my day I was exhausted and depleted. My husband asked why I do that to myself. In the moment I was pretty ticked at that response, but it was also a fair question. Why did I do that to myself?

What’s true is that days like that rarely happen anymore and I choose to recognize and celebrate that fact. When they do happen, I know it’s a symptom of something else. Am I saying “yes” too much? Am I worried that I have to do all-the-things because opportunities are finite? Am I using work to hide from something else or to make myself feel worthy?

Maybe for you the why is different, but the outcome is still the same. None of us do our best work when we’re depleted. My consistent work is to ensure that there’s space in my schedule, time for rest and creativity and that I don’t get into the space of feeling like I have to fit everything in….because that’s not when I do my best work. My work is important to me and I am important to me.

How’s your schedule these days? Where can you make some space so that you don’t feel depleted? Your work is worth it and most importantly, you’re worth it.

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