Normally I’m a fairly upbeat person. I have fairly high stamina at work and do what I need to. I can burn the midnight (ok, 7 pm) oil more than a few times in a row without much concern. But right now I’m tired. Not tired like “oh I have too much work” but a much deeper tiredness. A soul tiredness.
Anyone else feeling that lately?
It feels too easy for me to respond with “omg pandemic amirite?” That would be accurate, but not necessarily comprehensive for me. But it is true that the pandemic is 100% stressing us all the fuck out.
Upon some further googling, I learned humans do a few things differently when stressed:
Get agitated / hit emotional ceilings more easily.
Make worse decisions (on average) due to emotional blinders.
You begin to feel more isolated and alone, as if no one else is feeling (or ever will feel) what you’re going through.
To be a meme-ing millennial for a second: wow, I did not ask to be so personally attacked like this, Google! Just @ me next time, sheesh.
Ok, back to regularly scheduled programming: Given what’s going on in the world right now - that we are globally isolated, for lack of a better term - I’m worried the tiredness is not going away anytime soon.
Then we start talking about remote work.
I have a Google Alert set up for remote work, as regular readers of this newsletter know. And yikes are there conflicting messages these days.
The “Hidden Toll” of remote work (points for most ominous)
Remote work doesn’t work for everyone (points deducted for most obvious)
The list goes on.
But what can we do about this tiredness?
Admittedly, we should have seen it coming - we know what isolation does to people. But there’s no point in that kind of commentary right now.
I personally - and please note I am NOT a mental health professional and this is NOT guidance or advice in any way - choose the Stoic route of simply getting on with it. However, I augment the Stoic route a little bit. Instead of simply getting on, stiff upper lip British style, I default to “what’s the minimum I need to accomplish to keep moving forward?” then do only that.
In my view - again, my non-professional view so this is not advice - the only thing that really stops us is stopping. I think back to my time in high school when a particularly smart teacher told me about the concept of progress. That whether moving an inch or a foot, you’re still moving ahead. I later learned, of course, that statement is a truism and my teacher didn’t invent it. BUT its meaning applies very well here.
We’re being fed with a barrage of conflicting information and advice, particularly for a hot topic like remote work. And as one person I interviewed for an article recently reminded me, most advice is crap because it’s in the wrong context. The best advice is tailored for your context - meaning anyone else providing you advice can’t really give you the best advice, since they can’t really access your personal context on a deep level.
So the best advice is indeed not advice, but mental models and ways of thinking that help you apply information to your own context so you can make a decision.
For me, what’s worked is thinking in inches if I’m not in a position to think in feet.
What’s worked / is working for you?
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