I enjoyed a rare weekend off last weekend – and then spent some time this week thinking about principles that should guide my time off in the future. Here’s what I came up with, add your thoughts in the comments. But before you read further – make sure you take a day off in the first place!
It only takes a second to be pulled back in | Turn your phone off
There’s no shame in being completely offline for a day. You’re playing with fire if you are always “on” – so make sure you turn off the electronic tether and be set free. Shut down Outlook, unplug the internet, forget webmailing in for a second, disable Twitter (which ruins things anyhow) or have your spouse hide your phone. We did that this weekend, and I was amazed how many times I instinctively looked at my phone, only to be greeted by a blank screen.
Have a life outside of the office | Focus on people you love
I love focusing on video games (well, not anymore) to relax on a day off. I love focusing on my hobby. I love focusing on my blog. I love writing and reading. But a great way to get the most bang for your buck out of your precious days off is to spend it focusing on the people you love. If you have kids, write up a family bucket list and do it with them. If you rarely see your spouse, get a sitter – start a babysitting ministry if you want to score some free ones – and go see a movie without the kids. People, people, people.
Goodnight, sweetheart | Catch up on sleep
Don’t waste the whole day away in bed – but definitely carve out some time to sleep. With kids in school I can’t exactly sleep in, but I can get to sleep earlier or try to squeeze in a nap. Pushing yourself hard during the work week is acceptable, even required at times, so make sure you balance it out on the other end. Remember, sleep is not a sign of weakness.