Sprint, Laugh, Repeat

Human beings don’t do well with multitasking. In fact, many research papers would tell you its impossible. Some people are better at switching from task to task very quickly. Others (me) can hardly walk and chew gum at the same time.

Our brain doesn’t like to switch tasks or routines. At work, this causes people to get stuck in one of two boats: working to the point of stress or not working at all. It seems that “working hard or hardly working” are the only two states people know.

This isn’t a bad thing, but it can become one over time. People that stay in one lane for too long can end up hurting themselves. This happens in different ways depending on the lane.

The marathon runner

This type of person is always on the go. They’re always trying to learn something new and working to do more. A marathon runner keeps running for hours at a time to complete the race.

A marathon worker puts in 80 hours a week, pushing for that promotion, and not stopping until they get what they want.

But the race for runners has to stop eventually. Runners often collapse to the ground after the race and rest for several days or weeks after before doing anything strenuous again.

Marathon workers don’t get this luxury. The race never stops. Even when you get that promotion, there’s another promotion waiting for you. And if you get the next one, there’s another promotion after that. The reward for years of pain and effort is more pain and effort.

That’s why they call it a rat race. We spend so much time running on our hamster wheels that we forget to look outside our cage.

The marathon workers usually tire themselves out or drive themselves crazy. Not great options.

Another option is…

The circus goer

These people live their lives for entertainment. That’s the only goal. If you have the means to do this, it can be a lot of fun. Watching the trapeze artists flip and tumble can make any person smile–for a while.

But believe it or not, even the circus gets old. At a certain point, you know exactly what’s going to happen and the charm of it wears off. Even fun is boring after a while.

Everyone has unique talents that the world can appreciate in some form. Some people have the ability to make others smile just by talking to them. Some people can help people with their finances (wink, wink). Others can provide great meals for other people to enjoy.

When you live your life as a circus goer, people don’t get to experience your talents anymore. Making entertainment your only goal is hiding your gift.

Options so far are to work yourself to death or have fun until its boring. What else can we do?

Be both people

If the human brain hates switching tasks, don’t make it. You’ll only make it harder for yourself. Instead, plan specific times for growth and rest–work and play.

The most successful people in life work hard and have fun. And they focus completely on one or the other. They take time to run marathons and go to the circus. Trying to do both at once doesn’t work.

Laughing during a marathon will tire you out too quick.

And you can’t enjoy the circus if you run right by it.

Take time to do each one separately.

Saving your money is no easy task. You have to make sacrifices along the way. If your life becomes all about saving, you’ll miss the circus going on beside you. You have to take some time to celebrate.

But celebrate too much and you’ll end up scooping elephant poop to pay for food.

You need balance to live life to the fullest. Make dedicated time for each, and maintain your focus.

Sprint, laugh, repeat.

Thanks for reading!

Featured photo source: Conor Samuel on Unsplash

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