This week has been the busiest week I’ve had in a long, long time. Maybe since I quit my corporate executive job. Maybe since I moved to Iowa. Maybe since the last crazy software release I worked on over a year ago.
I’m working two contracts and building a business and volunteering my time to promote various wellness events.
Here’s the thing: I’ve discovered that my mental health is better when I’m busy. Not when I’m so busy that I don’t get to sleep, eat properly, exercise, etc. But when I’m just the right amount of busy that I feel like I’m doing something. Making something happen.
I think it has to do with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow. Flow is this state of being that you achieve when you are working on a task for which you have the appropriate level of skill and that has the appropriate level of challenge. Flow is where you forget where you are, what time it is, the fact that the dog needs to go outside, and so on.
There is a misconception in the simple living world that in order fully to be happy, you have to work less. You have to quit your day job, start an online business, and work four hours per week. I don’t think that’s it.
I think in order to be happy, you have to immerse yourself in something. And you have to feel like you’re good at it. But not so good that you get bored.
My husband is a professor. He works almost all the time. He feels like he’s making a difference in young people’s worlds every day. He’s a good teacher. And he’s so happy.
So get in the flow. Be happy. And don’t worry if your work week surpasses 40 hours. If you’re feeling good, it’s all good.
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