This weekend, I’m taking a 1,200-mile road-trip with my son, Carver. We are headed to Austin, Texas, where he will work for the next three months for a major technology firm as part of his collegiate experience. Along the highway about every 75-100 miles are rest stops strategically placed to help weary travelers take a break. On Wednesday, I was on a conference call with Erica Farber and a few others, and we were discussing the breakneck pace of our business these days. “I don’t think it ever slows down any more,” Erica said. Kids have the summer off from school in most parts of the country, a three-month period to relax, recharge and refocus in an effort to get ready for another year of learning. When do we get a break?
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
Because our schedules are so busy, we often push noncritical tasks to the weekends. This means that we never stop working. Our advice today is stop. This weekend, take some time to unplug, relax and refresh. Psychology Today recently had an article about the long-term effect that all of this constant stress and busy-ness is having on our mental health. People are more on edge, more stressed and quicker to inappropriate reactions and hostility because of the pace of the world we live in.
So this weekend, unplug. Whatever it is, it can wait till Monday. There are plenty of things that you can do to unplug and recharge. The key is to do something you truly enjoy. Here are some suggestions:
• Sleep in – If you normally get up at 5:30 a.m. every day, turn off the alarm and see if you can sleep in till 8 a.m.
• Read a book for fun – Whether it’s about hobby, fiction, art or culture, pick a book that you wouldn’t normally use for business.
• Visit an art gallery or a museum – Admiring the creativity of others can be mind-expanding.
• Take a walk – exercise has well-documented benefits. You don’t have to go nuts, just take a walk or a bike ride. Get outside and enjoy some fresh air.
• Appreciation journal – Spend some time thinking and make a list of all the things you have in your life that you are thankful for. Often, we take our current situation for granted and only focus on the problems or the things we don’t have.
• Surround yourself with people who make you happy and give you joy.
Our business isn’t slowing down, and that’s not a bad thing. There is always something more to do, something more to learn, more clients to help, more promotions to dream up. If the people who designed our highways had the foresight to put rest stops along the road, we need to occasionally unplug and take a rest.
Psychologists say we have a chronic preoccupation with what we aren’t doing. Meaning, we are so worried about what we are not doing, we can’t focus on what we are doing and do it effectively. This weekend, I can worry about all the things I’ll have to do next week and the things I didn’t get done last week, or I can enjoy a road-trip and some great bonding time with my son. We all need to choose to enjoy the journey. This weekend, we encourage you to forget about where you’ve been or where you're headed from a work perspective and choose to take some time to relax, recharge and refresh. If you have some ideas about nonwork activities that bring you joy, we’d love to hear about them. Email us at Jeff.Schmidt@rab.com.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.