Jet Lag and Productivity

I’ve arrived home on a short vacation from my work of teaching English in Japan. I’ve been home for almost a week now and life has been hectic. I’ve been viewing this time back home as less of a vacation and more of an opportunity to get away from the work I’m obliged to do, so I can do the work I want to do. What I’m beginning to realize is, with or without work, I have a lot of shit that I’m trying to do.

The jet lag I’ve been dealing with has not made anything easier. It’s exhausting to try to adjust your sleep schedule after flying to the opposite side of the planet over a 30 hour span. Even when I am awake, my focus is wavering, my attention is short, and the quality of my work has been mediocre. The admission I’m feeling ready to make is that I have put too much on my shoulders for this short trip home.

I came into this time away from work with the idea of things I MUST get done. This means I’ve made an outline of what will be a successful trip home, in other words, making anything less a failure. For anybody who is not familiar with the idea of a vacation, it’s not really supposed to be a win-lose situation.

I gave myself goals in reading, writing, language study, language teaching, business development, not to mention the task of spending time with all of the people I have not been able to see for the past two years. It has not taken long to see some of these things being pushed aside in favor of others. And, as much as I would like to maintain balance and progress in all of these things, I have come to the conclusion that it is time to admit two things to myself:

1. I’m on vacation and I should start acting like it.

2. Getting things done should create a feeling of accomplishment, not a feeling a relief that I can now move onto the next thing.

Though I may have to cancel some of my promised sessions teaching English, and may lose some students because of it, I will definitely spare my sanity in the process. You cannot expect to do your best work without living a good life. Making this effort only results in work becoming your life. When you reach that point, you must ask yourself, what are you working for?


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