I took a half day of vacation today, with the intent of breaking out the elbow grease and scrubbing my house until everything gleamed.
Instead, I left work at 12:30, headed to the venue where my fiance and I are getting married in a few months, dropped off the damage deposit check and spoke for a while with the owner about ideas for our reception. Then I headed to the bank to take care of some business there. Then I went home and made myself toast with cheese and enjoyed it on the patio with a mug of tea and a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Then I took my dog for a short walk and played ball with her in the driveway. It had been a while since I had been able to relax like that, just sitting on the patio, walking and playing with my dog. I also filled out the census form that the government sent to my house and popped it in the mail. And, I had a long discussion with my neighbor, as she sipped a beer at my kitchen table, about the homeowners association, which is holding its first meeting ever tomorrow morning.
By most standards, I would say, a fairly productive afternoon.
So why, when dusk began to descend, did I still feel like I had been unproductive? I thought about my original purpose for taking the afternoon off: to give the house a very necessary cleaning. I hadn't done that. But, I had spent some "quality time" with my dog after weeks of working late and barely seeing her. I had attended to wedding and banking tasks. I had connected with a neighbor. I had enjoyed some quiet time on my patio. But I still felt like there was so much more I needed to do.
After dusk, I cleaned up my kitchen, so at least I can say I did some cleaning today. But I also realized that setting impossible standards for oneself is a good way to squash motivation and progress. No, I didn't achieve the perfect, sparkling house I had imagined I would with a whole afternoon free to focus on it. But I accomplished several other tasks that needed to get done, and best of all, I was able to relax a bit and give my dog the attention she deserves.