Summertime . . . and the living is easyAs this classic song from the Broadway hit, Porgy and Bess, reminds us, summertime is a time to relax, rest, rejuvenate and reward yourself for all the hard work you've been doing. As they say, all work and no play makes Jack & Jill a very dull boy & girl. We all need time to relax and just "play."
No matter how much you truly love and enjoy your work, it is necessary, from time to time, to get away from it all. This may mean going on a trip, even if only for a day or two, or an extended vacation of several weeks. Perhaps, for some, it means staying right where you are but taking time away from your day to day work to get out and see what's around you.
Believe it or not, doing this can be the best strategy you have, especially if you're in a rut. Removing yourself from the daily routines associated with running your business or household not only helps clear your mind and opens you to new ideas and possibilities, but it will also take you out of your patterned behavior and stimulates your creativity by presenting new experiences, sights and stimuli.
Being away from your everyday environment gives you the opportunity to see what life is like for other people in other locations. Whenever I travel, I make a point of observing what local businesses are doing. I usually talk to one or two business people in the town or city I'm visiting. This gives me a totally new perspective on things and opens my thinking to new possibilities.
Simply being in an unfamiliar location causes us to think and act differently. It takes us out of our routines, moves us away from our comfort zone and literally bombards our creative minds with new and exciting sights and sensations. Take time to play. Not only will you return more relaxed and rested, you'll surely have new ideas and renewed enthusiasm for your life and your work.
Can't get away right now?
Why not give yourself a Self-care Day? When was the last time you took a day just for yourself? If you're like most people, your answer is probably never. Essentially a Self-care Day is a 24-hour period where you take care of yourself. You do no work at all. I know, I can hear your protest. I protested too when I first heard this idea "But you don't understand, I have to check my voicemail, I have to return phone calls, I have to answer my emails and on and on." I protested in my very best entrepreneurial voice. The truth is any of us can take a day for ourselves without consequence. Believe it or not, the world will keep spinning. Calls will wait as will email.
This is a day just for you. If you normally do the cooking, on your Self-Care Day, you will refrain from making meals. Trust me your family will not starve. Obviously if there are small children or infants that depend on you, you would have to modify this. Overall try to do nothing that is related to your normal work. This is a pampering day just for you.
The first time I did this, I discovered just how my work relates to things that I do on any given day. Most of my reading was centered on business topics. Being an entrepreneur and self-employed, I was convinced I had to be working all the time. I was wrong. Kicking and screaming, I embarked on my Self-Care Day. I took a walk, read part of a novel, took a luxurious bath in our soaking tub (something I never used to do) and just hung out and took care of myself. What a concept!
It's been some time now and my Self-Care Day has become an integral part of my life. I not only feel better, and am having more fun, I have my life back. Doing this regularly has enabled me to put my work back into perspective. I no longer work seven days a week and I no longer do email throughout the day.
The interesting thing is that because of my taking this time to nurture myself, I'm actually more productive. Because I'm taking better care of myself I have more clarity and I'm able to better focus on the task on hand. Because I am taking better care of myself, I am more creative and productive. Most of all, because I am taking better care of myself, I feel better and have more balance and happiness, after all isn't that what it's all about?
Schedule one 24-hour period, sometime within the next 10 days, when you can give yourself a Self-Care Day and then go and do it. Once you've done this, see how you might be able to do this weekly and when you feel really ready, schedule an Self-Care Day for what would have been a normal work day.
Jim's Jems is copyright 1991-2006 by Jim Donovan. All rights reserved