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It’s 10pm, and I’m brewing a cup of coffee. Not just a little bit, but a full on pot of coffee that will largely be finished off.

I’ve been staring at my computer screen for a few hours now, but my eyes are starting to feel heavy. I think for a moment about laying my head down on the keyboard for a little snooze. One of my dogs, Ryley, is seemingly supporting that action as she snores, sprawled out on the bed behind me. I force my eyes awake and determine that sleeping face-first on my computer isn’t a great idea, and the bed behind me is far too covered in dog hair to be comfortable.

A few sips of coffee, and I’m back at it, crunching away on the keys.

When I finish, I retire to bed for a quick nap. It seems like my head just hits the pillow when I’m jolted awake by an alarm clock that is anything but soothing. Despite my strong desire to go back to sleep, the siren sound does its job and gets me up and on my feet. Like clockwork, Ryley takes to her feet and walks out of the bedroom to follow me to the computer where she’ll offer moral support from her dog dreams for the next few hours.

I look at the clock – it’s 4am. Got in a few hours of shuteye. I should be good to go. I stare at the screen again with my carcass planted in the familiar seat. Documents spring up, the computer hums to life, and I start my normal routine of browsing through e-mails and social feeds, scheduling tweets, and jotting down notes and reminders for the day.

When I started writing, it was a hobby much like anyone else that picks up running, knitting, or painting. I did it on the weekends and on days off from work. I didn’t really have a plan, but I also didn’t really care where it was going. I was happy just to have my own little WordPress.com address filled with my own ideas and a theme I could customize.

It’s happened to you before just like it happened to me. You start working on something that doesn’t really mean much to you at the time, but you suffer from some success. And it tastes just so damn sweet. Maybe you win your age group at the local 5k, and everyone raves about how well you did. Maybe your first painting is proudly displayed on the wall of your home, and everyone asks where you bought it.

Everyone has a deep passion to be good at something, to be praised for their work. It doesn’t matter what it is, as soon as you receive some kudos, it becomes like a drug. You crave more and more. That first successful project you worked on is fuel for the second which drives you to complete the third and so on and so forth. Along the way, you collect merits and medals that serve as reminders of previous performances, but for most, that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things because it’s the next thing that is going to really matter.

That viscous cycle continues until you’re no longer relishing in your accomplishments but rather intent on delivering more and more. You give up time with family and friends to produce more work which leads not to more reward but more work instead. The thought of having an empty to-do list is almost painful. Instead, you’d rather have it loaded up on tasks with due dates, project deadlines, and notes.

Don’t live in that time folks. Pick your head up and don’t be afraid to relish in your achievements for a split second before carrying on to your next task.

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Image source: Camouflage by Thom Lambert

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