When to Stop

I saw a drawing the other day about working that I really appreciated. I don’t remember the source, but it looked something like this:

graphic about working

The message being to stop working before reaching exhaustion. The problem with 100% energy expenditure for work is that you won’t have any energy to do productive, non-work related activities afterward. These activities include cleaning, cooking, exercising, and doing hobbies. All these activities are essential to living a balanced life. Without them, burnout and mental deterioration will creep up and show no mercy.

I’m fully aware that being able to freely decide whether to continue working or calling it for the day is not always possible. Luckily, there is another part of the day that one can be mindful of when it comes to stopping at the appropriate time. Indulging in pure pleasure, like watching shows, playing video games, or scrolling for memes on Instagram is an essential part of restoring one’s energy reserve. That being said, spending too much time indulging takes away from other non-work related activities, while also making the act of indulging no longer pleasurable. Take a look at the following graphic:

graphic about indulging

There is a good portion representing the need for the mind to relax and rejuvenate. But too much can result in what I call “zombie mode”. I often feel this after an hours-long binge of a reality show or playing video games. The activity is no longer fun, and I’m just mindlessly consuming it. In the end, I start to feel more exhausted and restless than before I started “relaxing”.

All this is to say, living each day by expending all my energy at work, then transitioning to overindulgence has always left me feeling disconnected and dissatisfied with life. Every person is different, but I do think everyone has their limits in both realms. Navigating when to stop has helped me feel better about each day and I encourage everyone else to be mindful of it too.