This post started out with a bunch of self-aware stuff, but I want to go a different direction. I kind of want to complain. Why do we have this cultural expectation that rest is the reward of hard work? Shouldn't rest just be part of the normal cycle of things?
For a number of years, I've been very specific about making sure that I take a week off quarterly. Go at it for 12 weeks, then take a week off. I think that this is a good practice, but we all know that you can't just be at your best for weeks on end. In a conversation with some of my peers the other day, it came up that one of our execs, for example, realizes that there are times when we're just not effective, whether it's because of life, fatigue or you're just not interested. In those cases, he just walks away, and does something else. Granted, we have to be adults and understand what we're accountable for, but deferment isn't neglect. What he says makes a lot of sense.
Not allowing ourselves to acknowledge and act on the idea that we need rest seems like one of those cultural things that we're programmed to do. These dotcom bros who talk about "rock stars" and other such bullshit are part of the problem, but it's a uniquely American thing to suggest that rest and a balanced life shows weakness. It's required by law in other countries. And to be clear, there's no mandate for this at work, it just feels like an obligation implied by past experience.
We have messed up priorities.