When people get burned out on work, they talk about needing some ‘me time’. I get it. When all you’ve been doing is working, time to slow down and just be with yourself helps to relax and reconnect.
However, some people seem to need more ‘me time’ than others. While everyone is different, I do think that the need for ‘me time’ is more often a response to spending time doing things that lack inherent joy.
While we might say that when working, we are spending time on ‘others’, the truth is most of us aren’t actually that consciously connected to others when we are doing our work. It is thus not being focused on others that has us feel the need to put our attention on ourselves. It is more so that we have been spending time acting habitually and without being connected to anything at all.
My friend S. Brian Smith once shared with me a favorite quote of his:
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
It is quickly becoming a favorite of mine too.
What if instead of needing ‘me time’ because we have been spending our time in joyous work, we could oscillate between ‘me time’ and ‘you time’ where BOTH times bring us a sense of joy and fulfilment?
I find there to be a distinct difference between working habitually and on autopilot versus working in conscious service of another person or people. As the quote above reminds us, serving other people is inherently joyous.
To be honest, the text you are reading right now is the product of my ‘you time’. I’d been procrastinating for weeks on writing text the accompany the videos I shot. In a conversation we were having while walking along the beach yesterday afternoon, my wife pointed out to me that my resistance to doing them was because I was focused on them as a ‘task’ or as ‘work to do’. When she asked me “What if you focused on how writing them would serve people?”, it was like someone had plugged me back into the wall. I wanted to stop the walk right then and there, go grab my iPad and start writing. Since then, I’ve written thousands of words and every minute doing it has been joyous. I haven’t felt a need for ‘me time’ at all. I’ve felt only a fully embodied desire for more ‘you time’.
What if you started committing to some ‘you time’ everyday?
This doesn’t have to be ‘feeding the homeless’ kind of service – it can be anything that you already do that is a kind of work. The difference is in your attention to the doing being on the service it is for others – how it will help and impact them.
What if the most productive time of your day could also be the most joyous?
My guess is you would have much less a need for ‘me time’.