Annual vacations, sick days, and even weekends are not enough of a respite from the busy world. While reducing busyness may be the long-term goal, immediately you need to call a timeout every day to focus on things that …
- make you smile
- give you space to breathe
- create mindfulness
- encourage gratitude
- help you cultivate joy
I used to feel guilty for taking this kind of time when I had a regular day job, and even since I started working for myself. I always want to do my best, but used to think giving my all meant giving all my time and energy. What I forgot to consider is that in giving all my time and energy, I couldn’t give my best. I was usually bouncing back and forth between burn outs, sick days, and sick of work days.
Time outs prevent burn outs.
When I call daily timeouts to go for a walk, make a special lunch, or engage in a creative non-work activity, I produce better work, feel healthier and more energized.
I love my work (really, really love it), but still need daily timeouts. Timeouts can be more challenging when you have a boss who believes that longer hours and more time invested equal more and better work produced, but find a way to make the time, and perhaps during those timeouts you can search for a boss who wants your best, not your busiest.
As much as we’d like to compartmentalize life and work, they are usually deeply intertwined. They either support each other or they don’t. When you feel well inside and out, you can fuel both a good life and good work.
How do you get over the guilt?
If you struggle taking time off or doing things that help you recharge, and feel well on a daily basis, start small by scheduling a 15-20 minute break. Read a book, take a walk, or do anything that encourages joy and is non-work related. If you are used to checking email on your lunch hour, or don’t remember what a lunch hour is, remind yourself that not only do you deserve this break, but you need it to do your best work.
If you really don’t believe that you can do better work by taking more time for yourself, experiment and prove yourself right (or wrong). After 21 – 30 days of taking an extra 15 – 30 minutes a day (or more), if your work suffers and you feel crappy, go back to business as usual. If you feel a little lighter, and happier, and notice you are doing better work, keep up with the timeouts.