In keeping with the theme of having an amazing day off, I’d like to take a moment to talk about my amazing and chill weekend.
I am a recent and avid believer that downtime is essential. Before, I did understand this in theory. Of course, I am very hard-core about whatever I do generally and tend to dive into things head first. (Like that time on that one water slide: I fell through the hole into the plunge pool…head first. Oh. My. Days.)
So while I understood that: yes, rest is important; yes, rest is essential for staying in tip-top condition in every area of your life. But why shouldn’t this mean, for a short period while I “jump-started” my business, that a brief sleep and maybe an hour or two of distraction every day would suffice for this? Surely that would be enough “down time”.
What Happens When You Work Every Day….Every Day?
I mean I was working every single day. Every. Single. Day. For the best part of a year.
Now see, there is a reason why this majorly doesn’t pan out. Maybe you are the exception to this rule; maybe you have a genetic evolution going on that has made easier for you to do this and succeed. If so, I envy you. And well done on some awesome genes.
For mortals like me, it doesn’t work out because of this one thing: burn out. I think I perhaps even burned out burn out: I did that many late nights / early mornings all the time. All. The. Time.
See, humans become less productive, accurate and mentally and physically healthy from a lack of sleep. This was one of the first rules of being a human I repeatedly tried to break. Even now, as I write the draft for this at 10pm, I am stretching this. My bedtime is 10.30pm (ish) as I get up early. I haven’t given myself any wind-down time.
Time to reflect on the day. To feel good about the work completed, and ponder how to do things better. I guess I haven’t recovered from my straight-into-the-typhoon attitude yet. (Is that a saying?)
Another major factor I was ignoring, was that because I was so stressed from lack of sleep, insane milestones that were 100% unachievable and only made stressing worse, I was also neglecting other parts of my life.
I was not socialising. I wasn’t having fun. Generally, I wasn’t enjoying life or partaking in any of the things that I normally adore doing. Like simply chilling with friends and watching some dramas. Or going for a walk.
I would hardly leave the house because it would cost me in work time.
And now I’m thinking – just why did I do that?
To be honest, I just really wanted to un-boomerang out of my parents’ house and get back to the young professional life I was living this time last year.
BUT. I have learned two very important lessons these past months:
Lesson One –
Have more than work to do. Have a plan. That was the first lesson I learned early on.
A short term plan: for the day and week, an idea of what you’d reasonably like to get done the week after, that month, that quarter. How those plans tie into and complement your longer term goals and strategy.
I just love having a plan and making it happen. In case you couldn’t tell.
Lesson Two –
The other thing is how amazing your work week can be after a day or two off.
And I mean completely off. I haven’t managed it 100% yet. I’ll still open my emails and flag things for follow up on Monday, or Tuesday if it’s slightly less urgent.
But you can really refresh yourself. You can. You see the world around you that you are doing your best to leave your mark on. To make it better. The world that you’re adding value to.
Essentially, I have learned that even if it’s only “for a few months, maybe one or two years” you can’t shut off your needs as a human being.
You need to interact with the world around you. It’s good for you emotionally. It’s good for you physically.
And while you have your head buried in work – both busy and actual – life goes on for the world around you. The people in your life won’t wait for you. Stay connected to the people who matter to you.
And as I said in my last post: you come back to your business, whatever stage it’s at, with fresh ideas, renewed positivity and enthusiasm for life that will pull you through the tough slogs and make the world brighter even on better days.
All the while knowing that what you’re doing will still make a difference. The work you are doing is still worthwhile. You got this.
My Chill Weekend Off. Mostly.Daily Blog - Just the Weekend.
I took the whole entire weekend off. Well. A good 90% ish of it. I may have thought about work. I’ve already admitted I checked and sorted emails. Maybe I did some scheduling type activities…but that was only because I couldn’t sleep. (lol…?)
To The North…
We have this tiny bungalow up at the coast. When I say “we” I mean it’s my parents weekend place that they bought a few years ago when we (their kids) were all kids.
It’s idyllic, overlooking the major port towns on the north coast of Northern Ireland.
It’s so idyllic, but it’s also out in the sticks. There is no wifi in this house. It’s so out of the way and near the top of a mountain – the last house along a narrow, winding road – that it’s not even possible to have any form of broadband.
Thus, whatever “work” I do, I have to use my phone data. So I have to choose my balance of work/casual browsing/leaving enough data for the rest of the month, wisely. So it’s probably nothing but a good thing that there is no wifi.
We go up on Friday evenings and had our usual home cooked steak and salad dinner. This time around, It was a little unusual in that we normally have fillet steaks, but I was the one that did the shopping so we ended up with the wrong kind a different cut of steak. (Whoops.)
At the North Coast, there is an annual kite festival – it goes on all weekend by Saturday is the day to go. It’s a great day out if you have a kite or kids. After brunch (also home cooked because why not?), we – my parents and younger brother – drove past it on our way into town.
We meandered around the shops, I accompanied my brother to drop off his games. It was fun to see all the old games lining the shelves, including my absolute all time favourite: Need for Speed on PS2. I laughed when I saw it.
It started to rain as we met up again. Ducking into a coffee shop, I took everyone’s orders and queued up while they kept a table.
Ooh, coffee. Yum.
We thought we’d go for some mini-golf, but it was so unbelievably crowded that we bailed on that and went for a walk instead.
At this point, I am 100% not thinking about work. Go me. I am, however, doing my best to open the Pokémon Go app, but it’s just not having any of it. Restarted phone. Nothing. *Sigh*
My aunt and uncle have a caravan up by the coast. We stopped with them next. Uncle was just out of the hospital that week, but he was looking much better than he had before.
The day was coming to an end, so we grabbed some food from the supermarket and went home.
And then – I started to think about work. I opened my emails. I’m running on data – 1GB left. I close it down.
We have dinner. I had a little bit too much to eat. Whatever.
3am came. I woke up. Suddenly, can’t sleep. I try everything. Still- wide awake. Grabbing my phone and earphones, I quietly slip through the corridor to the kitchen. Put on some music through my headphones.
And then….I opened the Notes app. Again, I slipped into work mode. I mean, what am I supposed to do at 3am /4am, when I can’t sleep?
I sip water as I sit and look out over the dark and sleeping coastline. Thinking about life. My plans. I pray a little. It’s cloudy. Not a star in the sky, but the moon is full and so bright it lights up the kitchen anyway.
I sit and think. Ponder plans. Slowly, the sky changes colour. From a deep, fluffy midnight blue, sooty black and rusty reds, to lilac blue, pale orange and brilliant crimson. It was 100% going to rain that day.
6am. My morning alarm goes off as I clamber back into bed. I dose lightly.
Weekends are for brunches. – Actual Sunday Morning.
Another brunch later, we clamber into the car and head into town. Parked up, we go for another walk. This time, it’s a walk with a destination and we stop at a small, independent café.
I have the strongest black coffee I have ever had in my life; I wonder if they make it that way by default. Normally I only go for the lattes or mochas. Meanwhile, I am checking my business social media. My emails. And pondering business related things.
I try to stop and take a photo of my coffee instead. Coffee. Yum. (The one I’m drinking as I write this has, unfortunately, gone cold. *sips anyway*)
Meandering on, we talked about this briefly. Mother mentions that it is always that delightfully strong.
We walk past a new development. What used to be three townhouses, now has been dismembered into 6 appallingly overpriced shoebox flats. All sold – some people have more money than sense.
Our ramble turns into a sprint as the cold rain, a curtain which had been billowing over the sea, blows in to land.
Our drive home is punctuated by a spontaneous stop at the Fish and Chip Shop. I may have been canvassing for it all weekend.
With our fish supper eaten, it was time to pack up and go home.
Maybe it was because of the poor sleep I had the night before, but I pretty much went straight to bed when we landed in.
After a camomile tea, of course.