When reading the book “Effortless” by Greg McKeown, he made a big push toward encouraging us to take small steps. It’s not unlike what I’ve talked about before with One Percent Can Make a Huge Difference, but he took it a bit further, saying:
“Do not do more today than you can completely recover from today. Do not do more this week than you can completely recover from this week.”
While I appreciate the sentiment, I’m not sure it’s always true. I find that there are times in life when it’s worth pushing harder, knowing you’ll need a few days to recover.
This can be true in a variety of ways, but is likely most true in exercise. If people followed McKeown’s advice when it came to running, no one would be able to run for the first time. If you’ve not run in a long time, even an easy mile will make you quite sore the next day. That’s expected and ok, and you just need to take a few days to recover.
Similarly, there are times when I know I won’t be able to get any writing done for a while (perhaps on a family vacation), so I’ll push very hard to get plenty done before we go. It’ll wear me out on writing, but I know I have extra time to recover.
I agree with McKeown’s overall point that we shouldn’t push ourselves to the point of total burnout, but I think it’s fine (and sometimes ideal) to push to a point where you’ll need a few days to recover. If you take everything too slow and gradual, you may never get where you want to go.