I had a picnic at the beach yesterday with my girlfriend to celebrate our one year anniversary. Even though it took 30 minutes to find parking, I didn’t let it stress me out. This was our special day, and I wasn’t going to let anything ruin it.
I didn’t spend any time worrying about any work or expenses or any of the little things that I have to do in the next few weeks. Instead, I just enjoyed soaking up the sun (a little bit too much… been lathering on Aloe Vera all day because I got a little burned) and spending time with someone that I care deeply about.
It was a perfect day. So relaxing and refreshing.
I’ve recently become aware of how important it is to take time off for yourself. I’m reading a book right now called The One Thing, and in it the author talks about how this is the very first thing successful people do. They plan their time off in advance, before they plan their work schedule, because they know they’ll need it.
This creates a totally different approach to the way they work. Instead of trying to squeeze vacations in between work, they see themselves as working between vacations.
By planning your time off in advance, what ends up happening is you start managing your work time around your downtime, instead of the other way around.
This mindset shift forces you to be more productive when you’re working and allows you to take more time off, guilt-free. It’s a win-win.
On the other hand, when you don’t plan your time off in advance, you usually end up not having any time to rest, which burns you out and ultimately makes you less productive.
This is a serious and growing problem in the US. A recently published articled in the Harvard Business Review explains how our society’s inability to unplug from work is actually detrimental to both organizations and their employees in terms of both financial and productivity costs. Job stress is estimated to cost American companies more than $300 billion a year in health costs, absenteeism, and poor performance.
That’s insane… and stupid.
Don’t overwork yourself. Rest well and rest often. And wear lots of sunscreen.