Fifty plus years into my work life and I still am learning how to be satisfied with the rhythm of my day. My very first job as a teenager was factory work. Punch a clock, stay eight hours, accomplish what needed to be accomplished, then do it again the next day. That evolved into a career in the restaurant industry where there are no hours and the day never really ends. Weekends and holidays and nights are when it’s busiest, so the normalcy of life and time shifted to no discernible pattern except work, then work, then work some more. This was all about being productive because things had to get done or customers didn’t get fed. Life was dictated by the needs of others and work was steady and always.
Fast forward a few years to the early days as a financial advisor and the pattern shifted again. Saturdays to noon. Sundays off. A dream. Couple of nights a week until nine. So, what? Still, the hours were filled with meetings and learning, and marketing and the days were full. Yet, I learned that I was working less hard in every way and was still earning more than I had before. How was this possible? The notion of hard work had been instilled early on. And it stuck with me. Feeling engaged and productive seems to be part of the genetic makeup. But does it produce greater results? The answer, at least for me, is a pretty resounding no.
Even though I hold myself to a high standard of time at the desk, I find that there is a lot of down time. I use that time to study and learn and do my best to not feel guilty about not “working”. When it’s time to be productive, it is not hard at all to switch into high gear and get done what needs to be done. Just the way I’m wired. Doing my best trying to assuage the guilt of not being on the phone for eight hours of the day or making up imaginary tasks to complete so I feel better about being productive. Slow days I hone my skills and keep my mind sharp.
Time to forget that I don’t labor in a factory or punch a clock anymore. But I can still be a productive member of society at my own pace.