It seems as though in this day and age, everyone is busy – and I mean busy. We go from project to the next or possibly have them going on at the same time. The need to get things done faster, with less resources, and with higher impact is making us feel like there are not enough hours in the day or days in the week. We are becoming a nation that is stressed out and on the edge of burnout. I know that I am.
What is necessary is to be able to take some time to slow down and relax. To refresh…
Of course that is harder than it appears. We are no longer able to take a day off and play golf or go to the cabin without still being hooked in. Our cell phones and laptops, while wonderful tools, keep us plugged in no matter were we go. We cannot escape the e-mail or phone call that requires our attention NOW!! Even if we do escape to some backwater place where we don’t get cell phone coverage or there is no wi-fi, we often have the stress of multiple projects and deadlines looming over us that keep us up at night. None of this is good or healthy.
So what do we do? How can we refresh ourselves?’
What we need is some serious down time. Some time for ourselves to let our minds and body’s calm down and rejuvenate. This is not a vacation (vacations often only add in more stress and pressure). This is a time to slow down and allow ourselves an opportunity to vegetate. To feel like we did in Junior High over the summer when the most pressure we had was to make sure we got home in time for dinner. It is time that many people might call “wasted” time because it is unproductive – but I feel that it is time that is needed to repair and invigorate so that we can be productive.
I can attest that this isn’t easy and that I’ve never actually fully achieved it – but I’m going to try. Here is my plan…
Basically I’m planning on taking a mini-sabbatical. I’m calling it my refreshabbatical.
First, I am turning down or saying no to upcoming projects on the immediate horizon. I have to get my plate clear enough that I won’t feel the pressure to “do something” while I’m on my refreshabbatical. For those of you who know me, you know this is hard for me. I have to learn to say “no.”
Second, I am furiously working on getting things done that need to get done now. I don’t want to have anything looming over my head while I’m on my refreshabbatical. I need to have closure. While increasing pressure now, it will hopefully make my time off more relaxing. Also with not taking on new responsibilities, this should be almost like a typical workload.
Third, I’m planting the seeds now, for those people who would be typically calling or e-mailing or depending on me somehow, to be able to go without me for a couple of weeks. I’m setting expectations on how to deal with things that I would typically be doing. This is also the case for any social media (facebook, twitter, linked-in, etc…). If I’m going to be checked-out, I need to be checked-out of those as well. Preparation for this is vital (either setting up automatic tweets in advance or letting people know you are going off line).
Fourth, I’m going to turn things off. Yes – really, turn them off completely. I will have the auto-responder on e-mail. The cell phone is going to be turned off with a message saying I’ll get back to people in 2 weeks (not “checking it when I can and getting back to you as soon as possible”). I will not check facebook or twitter. This will be hard and I will need to be strong to resist the temptation to just take a peek…
Finally, I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay here at home. Oh, I will go out. Depending on the weather, I’ll go down to the lakes or to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts…but I’m not planning a big trip. My refreshabbatical is about refreshing my soul, mind and body. It is about taking a break from the pressure and madhouse that we tend to live in.
So, for all two of you who read this blog regularly…this is my warning to you. In a few weeks, there may not be regular updates. You might not get my witty insights or musings on motivation. The same articles will be up and unchanged. But note that I’m ok… I’ll be in the backyard with a glass of lemonade enjoying the butterfly’s passing by…taking my refreshabbatical.
If you know someone that might benefit from this article pay it forward and pass it along.