“Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

This is probably the #1 line said by IT.

And as a tech nerd, this totally should have been clear to me last night when I was trying to put some mp3s onto my iPod*.

(*An iPod is an ancient audio playing device used by dumbphone users. In some versions you are required to press actual buttons. Warning: touching the screen will just leave fingerprints and will not allow you to select a different song.)

I find the process rather cumbersome and not intuitive, but, it’s all part of getting the audios closer to my ear buds.

I did the usual task of importing the songs into iTunes and then clicking to sync my device.

Aaaaaand…

I got the long error message “was not copied because the file type is not supported”.

For over 100 songs…

That had all been previously on my iPod.

In a nutshell, my iPod wiped clean of all my old songs.

Thankfully, they were still in iTunes.

I tried syncing them again and got the same error message.

It was time to get strategic.

I took out an old fashioned pen and paper, and wrote down the albums that weren’t syncing.

Then I deleted those albums from iTunes.

Then I copied them back into iTunes.

Then I pressed the sync button again.

Aaaaaaand…

I got the long error message “was not copied because the file type is not supported”.

I could cry.

I actually might have.

I had been at this task already for a few hours and REALLY wanted to turn myself “off and on again”. I mean, go to sleep.

It was SOOOOO frustrating.

I took a deep breath and…tried again.

Delete. Copy. Sync.

And?

I got the long error message “was not copied because the file type is not supported”.

At this point I had had enough.

Obviously this iPod was defunct and I needed to buy a new mp3 player, I thought. See ya later, apple.

And I went to sleep. Like 4 hours later than I had originally planned.

This morning I decided it was worth trying again.

Maybe, just maybe, the iPod would sync everything and I would be able to listen to my audios on demand.

Wishful thinking, right?

I turned on my computer…plugged in my iPod…

AND IT WORKED!

We humans are vastly different than machines.

We’re a lot more complex.

We have needs.

There’s one need that we have in common with machines.

That’s the need to be turned “off and on again”.

If we keep running, doing, acting, working, pushing beyond our limits, we won’t be as efficient.

Or worse, we’ll be inefficient.

We’ll make mistakes.

Eat all the foods we normally wouldn’t choose for ourselves if not for the late hour and utter exhaustion.

We need downtime. Sleep. Rest.

My amazing group clients had a major “aha” moment last night about their sleep habits.

There’s a certain time in the night when attempting a task and it just doesn’t work anymore.

You try a million different ways to make it happen, and each time it flops.

(Side note: often this is when we turn to sugar and chocolate to keep us going for “just another 20 minutes”. The thing is, it’s not sugar or chocolate we need. It’s being turned “off and on again” that we need.)

Eventually, you collapse into bed and fall asleep from utter exhaustion.

And then something amazing happens in the morning.

The task you were struggling with for hours last night gets done in 20 minutes. Clear. Concise. Completed.

I know you have a million things that need to get done.

I know that you have that friend who only sleeps 3 hours a night, keeps a perfect house, and makes cookies with her kids each afternoon.

Most of us are not like that. And that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us or that we’re just not pushing ourselves hard enough.

You need downtime.

You need to take breaks.

You need rest.

Give yourself permission to turn yourself “off and on again”.

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