PSA: Take a break from your Flow, even if you think you don’t need one

Frog taking a break from his flow on a rock

Because sometimes during flow the not-taking-a-break creeps up to you, and suddenly you’re exhausted. Not taking enough breaks in the past week, even if it was all fun stuff and great projects, has started catching up to me. 

In the last ten days, I’ve made a one-minute animation with characters, I have filled up 38 pages in my sketchbooks, I worked on a super secret project, I wrote over 3000 words for my blog, for which I also came up with the general concept, design and theme customization. Most of the thinking happened at 2am, when I couldn’t sleep because of a racing mind. This should’ve been hint #1 that I should have taken a break and relax. 

I didn’t, and now I am running out of energy, even though there’s still a lot I want to do, try, learn and create. (I want to take a School of Visual Storytelling subscription. And take the Motion Design School class.

The down-side of Flow

Most of my spurge of productivity these days come from a ridiculous amount of Flow. You probably know Flow: it’s what happened when you’re so sucked into an activity, you lose track of time. (and maybe even forget to eat, clean, do the dishes, etc…) 

I have a love/hate relationship with Flow. I meet Flow when I code, when I draw and create. When Flow and I are together, we have a great time and get a lot done. 

But then it’s time for Flow to go home, because it’s lunch or dinner time, something came up or it’s already well beyond bed time. And then it strikes: Flow Fatigue. I don’t know if this is a thing, but it’s something I often struggle with after a good. All at once I lose the ability to focus on anything and just have to lie down and do nothing. 

In work and play

I also meet Flow when I’m doing something recreational, like re-watching 7 seasons in a three week binge, all next to full-time work. Or playing 24 hours of Elder Scrolls online in three days, then stopping and never touching it again.

But when I am in a Flow like that, I at least get rest from heavy mental work. Maybe I need a little bit of Flow to go to ‘waste’. It’s all about balance. Work hard, play hard. I may have to get lost in that book, watch a show on Netflix or play a game for my sanity’s sake, even if work truly feels like play. Not everyone (read: my brain) seems to think so.

In conclusion, I’m taking tonight off. If I don’t, it’ll be only worse tomorrow. It’s time for tea, maybe one of my unread books or some Star Trek, a shower and a good snack. And of course, drawing cute frogs surrounded by plants is highly meditating as well.

I’ll turn in early and then, hopefully, I’m back on the battlefield tomorrow.

What’s your favorite way to do a quick mental recharge? Leave a comment below!

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