If it’s good enough for God to take a full day off after working six days, then maybe it’s also good enough for us (Genesis 2:1-3)!
There are principles that work in our personal and professional life; and this is one of them. Deliberately scheduling time-out to rest, relax and refresh yourself is fundamental to assessing the present, visualizing our ideal future and attempting to create a plan to fulfill it. Besides the therapeutic value of planning a special time-out day, the act of positioning yourself in a space where you can receive creative ideas is very wise.
Specifically scheduling and flexibly ‘designing’ one day per week to relax and recuperate after a demanding working week became a habit of mine about ten years ago. It was a day to catch up on sleep, take time to spend with close friends and especially treat myself to a long lunch in an aesthetically pleasing restaurant (with scenic views and/or great food)*. I also took an opportunity (usually during dessert and coffee) to review my goals, maybe reassess and tweak them, and then insert a few other aspirations for my future direction.
It all started in 2001 when I was studying in a French university in a medieval town in SW France. I observed that on a Sunday, many French locals had the custom of sleeping-in, spending over 2 hours for lunch, dining in a quaint restaurant in the ancient quarter of the city, and then taking a leisurely walk along the promenade or through the city park. The one thing that the French seemed to know well in this city was when to stop working and when to commence the leisure activities.
Unfortunately, in a lot of western cultures this work/leisure line of delineation is often blurred and for some people there isn’t a line! Consequently, we just continue living the same lifestyle weekly, monthly, annually or sometimes for decades. However, this type of environment has the potential for us to rarely question the status quo, evaluate our mental, emotional, spiritual or physical health or appraise the degree of contentment in our employment situation; that is, until we have deterioration in our health, financial status, family life or social life.
Many major companies schedule planning sessions into their timetables. Some statistics estimate that some of the successful companies take at least 30% of their operation time to plan for the future of their business. If this habit is productive for the corporate world, why wouldn’t the same principle also be beneficial for the individual?
Even Stephen Covey mentions this as one of his seven habits in his renowned book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. In the Chapter, entitled, ‘Sharpening the Saw’ he tells the story* of a man in a forest trying to saw down a tree. A stranger sees the man in an exhausted state slowly cutting the tree with his saw. “How long have you been sawing the tree?”, inquires the stranger. “Five hours and this is really hard work!”, replies the timber-cutter. The stranger comments, “I notice that your saw is very, very blunt. Have you thought about having a break, sharpening the saw and then continuing your task?” “Don’t be silly!” retorted the timber-cutter, “I haven’t got time, I have a tree to cut down!!!”
There’s wisdom to be gleaned from the observations of others. The question is do we deserve one day off a week to recoup our energy: emotional, mental, spiritual and physical – I think that we do! Could it also be that the principle of having an ‘Energy Day’ is a divine one; and sometimes that could be where the creativity comes from!
Brian Horan is a Careers Counselor/Coach, a published author and international speaker. He is also the Managing Director at eCareers Academy, a Career Counselling service. You can find out more about his services by visiting the website www.eCareersAcademy.com , giving him a call on 1300 396 929 or sending an email, info@eCareersAcademy.com
© Brian Horan at eCareers Academy; August, 2014