Some time ago I realized that if I want to make good things happen, I've got to start working hard. I'm about to graduate from college, and if I want to live the kind of life I've always wanted, I really have no choice but to work my ass off.
And so I did. Or at least I was trying my best.
I started writing this blog. I was spending 20+ hours a week at my part-time job. I revived my iPhone photography website. I was studying direct response marketing and copywriting. I spent more than an hour each day hand-copying successful sales letters. I was working out four times a week. I was doing all of that while being in my last semester of college. Most of my classmates are already freaked out, even if they aren't doing anything else.
It's probably not hard to see that my life was not exactly fun most of the time. My quality of life was suffering, and I was beginning to feel isolated from other people. Not good for an introvert. And my productivity was beginning to suffer.
More and more often I found myself mindlessly spending time on the internet. It's one of the things I really don't want to do, yet I was often wasting hours online. My motivation was getting worse and worse. I was still more productive than I'd have been a year ago, but it was obvious that I could do a lot more.
Somehow I just couldn't force myself to work hard, to get things done, and not to waste my time.
All of this changed when I took a trip home about three weeks ago. For three days I abandoned all my commitments and had a great time. I went out with my friends. I went skiing with my family. Not much got done that weekend, but boy was I happy.
In fact, I liked the experience so much that I booked another trip home two weeks later--this time to go whitewater rafting during the peak of the spring snowmelt.
I expected to get a lot less done by taking a few days off from my routine to have some fun. But as it turned out, that wasn't exactly the case. By taking some time off work (and having a lot of fun) I could get as much, if not more, done.
A few days before each trip I was already hyper-motivated to get stuff done quickly, because I didn't want to do any work while being away. When I came back, I had more energy than before. I could literally sit down in front of the computer, ready to kick some ass, and spend the entire day doing work.
No distractions. No time wasted.
This not only made me more productive, but also a lot happier. The sun was shining more often. The grass was greener. People were nicer to me. How cool is that?
Some people would do anything they can to spend as much time away from work as possible. I'm not suggesting that you do the same. But even if you like what you're doing, you could still benefit from taking some days off. If you don't recharge your batteries, they will inevitably get drained.
Find what it is that recharges you, that really makes your life worth living, and try to do it the weekend. I bet that you'll be more productive when you come back to work after that.