Do You Feel a Pull Toward Work, or a Pull Toward Leisure?

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One of my most important happiness commandments — okay, my most important happiness commandment — is to “Be Gretchen.”

I’m always trying to understand myself, and how I’m alike or different from other people.

I’ve started to think about a new distinction I think I may have discovered…not sure what to call it…it’s like an “inner drive toward work or leisure.”

One thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I feel an insistent pressure to work. If I’m not working, I feel a persistent, faint (or not so faint) pull back to my desk.

In Better Than Before, I describe several habits that I’ve acquired to help me stop working, like Quitting Time and my weekly afternoon adventure with my older daughter.

Nevertheless, though habits like those are helpful, I very often feel a slight uneasiness when I’m not working, even when the time is being used “usefully.” And this is true even though I absolutely value time that’s not being used “usefully.”

Intellectually, I embrace leisure, but still, I hear that “work, work, work” whisper in my brain.

That’s true for me; I think some people are the opposite. From talking to others, I think that some people feel that any time at “work” is somehow…less valuable. That work time should be kept as short as possible so that there’s as much non-work time as possible.

I know people like this who are also very ambitious and driven. They want to work hard and well, and yet they do somehow feel that work isn’t quite “real life,” and they want to get back there as soon as they can.

This distinction just occurred to me, however…does it ring true for anyone else?  Do you feel an inner drive toward work, or an inner drive toward leisure?

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