My days never start before 8:00 AM. Honest, sometimes they don’t even start before 11. I’m a night owl. I can’t go to bed early, there’s always something to get done, a new season to watch or a tasty new restaurant to go feast at. I’ve tried setting my alarm at 6:30 way too many times but it only translates into bad moods and long(er) afternoon naps. It doesn’t work for me.

 

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That’s why I always wanted to give up on the wake up > shower > breakfast > commute > work routine. My first step was moving a few blocks from an office I worked at, but that only killed the commute. The rest was still the same. I still had to check in. I wouldn’t be free until way too late to have an actual life. Ugh! I hated living in that cage.

“What do you do these days?” those I haven’t seen in a while always ask. I never know how to answer that. I mean, I’m known as the geek of all trades here at Movanti. That translates into a wide (and wild) variety of chores, but it has no specific description other than the job title. I can’t specify what I do. I enable solutions? I help make things more efficient? More visually appealing? I don’t know.

What I know is that I haven’t had a morning routine in years now. And that’s awesome. My work days don’t rush in, they wait until I’m actually ready to be productive. And that’s awesome too. But it hasn’t been easy.

Research shows that employees who get unlimited vacation days often take even less time off than those who get a specific number of vacation days per year. The reason is that with so much freedom, comes an overwhelming sense of underachieving.

If people who commute, have a schedule and follow most standard work practices can feel enough pressure to give up their precious time off, imagine what it’s like for those who live with no real boundaries other than the expectation of getting things done.

Who am I? A free man? The one percent? Hell no! I’m a hard working man who gets things done for a living.

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At first, when we had a slow day, I’d go over and over my to-do lists, thinking “what did I miss?” I’d look at Slack and see if everybody was still online, meaning we were still in business. I’d message Courtney asking for things to do. I mean, it’s after lunch. How could I forgive my sluggish self for taking another 30 minutes to drink a “café bombón” and find a delicious white chocolate croissant? I must sit in front of the computer, be productive! Who am I? A free man? The one percent? Hell no! I’m a hard working man who gets things done for a living.

But in reality, down time is also part of business. As long as it doesn’t last forever or longer than the up time, you’re fine. Appreciate it, relax, go for a walk, drink that coffee, take a nap, catch up with Game of Thrones, play guitar. Refuel for the next rushing wave. Because there’s always a rushing wave coming.

And once you’re in there, in the middle of chaos, with a list of near-impossible milestones; you will look back. Place your palm on your forehead. Close your eyes. Rub right above your eyebrows. Thinking: “man, I could’ve found out why everybody was talking about Arya Stark.” But you will have to wait until the next slow day. And who knows when will that day come. So trust me, the more fuel you can stack during down time, the more productive you’ll be when the rush returns.

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