I was on vacation in Kauai after about 7 months of over-working. It was day 3 when something inside me jolted me from my stupor “Ummm, excuse me here, but we are in Hawaii for a limited amount of time, and you have wasted two whole days sitting in this condo stressing about WORK!? You’d better get off your duff and see this island. And you’d better be making BIG changes when we get back because we are never doing THIS nonsense again.”
The rest of the trip, was an amazing scuba journey every day, afternoon smoothies - fresh from the plant at the local stand, wonderful beach spots to commune toes in sand with the ocean, and meeting locals with wonderful life-stories of how they had dropped out of the rat race.
The big change became an invention called “the day of no obligation”.
Day of no obligation.
I’m not talking about that Saturday when you are doing ADHD yard work, laundry, and bathroom cleaning; or that football game you agreed to go to but would rather be sleeping; or that time you love with your kids, but feel the nagging wish you could open that novel you’d been meaning to read.
I’m talking nothing scheduled at ALL in any way shape or form. I’m talking “day of N.O.” written on the calendar. Get up when you feel like it, shower if you want, eat what you want, sit at Alkai all day watching the scenery, curl up with hot chocolate and a book, follow the whims of the moment. Only do things that you really want to do, only things that make your heart sing, however small or seemingly silly.
Entrepreneurs are we.
24/7, always “on”, rock-n-roll, don’t stop til you drop, keepin' it real.
Stop for a moment, ask yourself “When was the last time I scheduled an appointment with Me, the most important person in my address book?” It is so easy to book every moment. There are endless important projects to complete, people to contact in a timely manner, “must do’s” that press on your Soul until you complete them. The motivation wanes. You used to have passion, motivation, that fire in your eyes. Where has it gone? Depletion has crept in.
To regain the fire, you need to restore your Spirit, you need to schedule Me-time.
Don’t wait until your body lies you flat out with illness. Take that hour or ½ day, and schedule something whimsical that you love. Mill around the bookstore, art gallery, Pike Place Market, pull out the fingerpaints and get messy, make it something you enjoy fully.
And then, the key element, be present, and enjoy it fully.
Taste all the flavors in every bite, feel every tactile sensation, see beyond, see shapes in the clouds, hear beyond, that subtle sub-terrain of your favorite songs. Allow yourself to reconnect and renew.
Mono-a-mono, you with yourself. Getting that oxygen mask on yourself first, breathing in fully, restoring your inner fire.
If you are still skeptical, still feeling like it’s more important to complete tasks, ask yourself:
- Do you notice when someone else is running on fumes?
- Is it obvious when someone is weary behind their shining smile?
Your clients notice too.
- Are you more productive at 50% for 8 hours,
or at 100% for 4?
That ½ day off is time well spent. In fact, it's the most important thing you can do to keep yourself "on".
Personally, I take a full 24 hours at least once every two weeks, ideally weekly. Experiment. Find what works for you.
And the day after? You can’t even imagine how full of fresh insight & energy it will be.
Be careful with this tactic though; this sort of thing is dangerous.
You may end up taking time for yourself on a regular basis, improving your health, maintaining motivation levels and having a more balanced perspective on life!