I wrote a couple weeks ago about my recent productivity slump. As I’ve worked my way through it, I’ve realized that sometimes productivity is about having some self-compassion.

In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey talks about balancing production (P) and production capability (PC). Anyone who focuses only on maximizing production will eventually see their production capability decline. Think of the corporate lawyer working 100-hour weeks, the professional athlete subsisting on junk food, or, of course, the farmer killing the goose who lays the golden eggs. We have to care for ourselves or we’ll break down.

The temptation is always to push through, to gut it out, to just increase the pressure on ourselves. But for long-term success, the opposite approach is far healthier—to take a break, cut ourselves some slack, and recharge.