I felt guilty yesterday. I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t feel that way on a weekend. Why? You ask. Because I did absolutely nothing productive…so I thought. Besides leaving my apartment to dodge the frantic pre-Christmas shoppers down Michigan Avenue on my way to save a little along with the crowd and scoop up some needed sweaters-on-sale for the already chilly winter, I did nothing. And I felt guilty the whole time. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home? Check. Laundry? Check. Shower? Check. But there was little else going on besides catching up on sleep and classic holiday movies. As I switched from movie to movie, I thought about how I should be working on my creative projects, starting to gather tax info before year-end, and how I had time to do it all.
What was the barrier between me and productivity? Sure, the terrible weather was a pretty awesome excuse, but I had wireless internet access at arms’ length. Okay, fingers’ length. Are you judging yet? There are many things I may be called, but lazy is not one of them. And, I embarrassed myself by feeling so. It’s like that silly worry I’d feel in school that maybe one day I’d wake up and not care or try to do well anymore. Yeah, when you have that in you, it doesn’t just go away.
And then I had a revelation when I woke up today, headed to the gym, rented a Zipcar for 2 hours to run some errands all before mid-day brunch and an equally productive and fun Sunday afternoon. In fact, I already have my New Year’s Day brunch set up a week early. (Once a Type A, always a Type A – one day won’t undo it all.) Maybe I needed a day to just stop. Maybe my day off was an investment-in my health, my morale, and my focus. I then thought about how sometimes perceived steps backward, (or the misconception that anything that’s not forward is backwards) are in actuality, giant jumps forward. We often make larger sacrifices like spending more for a large item that will give us months or years of use. The same comes with time. Check out this New York Times article that says breaks improve productivity, but we often feel guilt when taking them.
Okay, so maybe having science and the Times behind this thought process reduce the guilt a little bit. But, proof is in my productivity today. After giving my body and mind a break, existing in my personal space without working, creating, producing, conversing, networking, Tweeting, or worrying (okay, I worried a little I should be using my time more efficiently), I was able to get back into the swing of things the very next day. And, I even got a blog post idea out of it.
So, what’s the point of sharing these personal and still slightly embarrassing thoughts about my day off – completely off? Sometimes it’s helpful to know we’re in the company of others to do things that feel a little wrong. Since I feel fortunate to be surrounded in personal and digital relationships with doers, today, I give you permission to do nothing. In fact, I wish you the good fortune of having a half-hour, half-day, or day to do just that. Let’s call it a Doer’s Day Off, and let’s give each other permission to take it. Ready, set, (okay, forget about going)…
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