Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Take the Break, Ditch the Guilt

I chose sweats & gray fuzzy socks :-)
Photo: tookapic via Pixabay

Today, I took the afternoon off -- well, most of it, anyway. No writing, no grading, no e-mails, no planning. Just some games on my iPad with a little nap in between. Oh, and some conversation with my daughter.

Saying I was taking the afternoon off felt almost as good as doing it.

As a recovering perfectionist, I've gotten better at replacing maximizing with satisficing -- sometimes, good enough is good enough -- but I'm still not very good at honoring weekends, let alone taking down time in the middle of a weekday. But, with teaching, trying to get the paperback edition of Courting Peace out and life in general, I've been burning the candle at both ends. 

It was time to stop and take a breath. 

I'm lucky. As a self-employed writer with a part-time teaching gig, I can declare the occasional Wednesday afternoon a no-business zone. I don't have to clear it with my boss or submit paperwork to payroll, which makes it easy to let go of the guilt (item #21 on my 21 Things for 2021, added after this post). 

But, to make that happen, I had to reframe things. To the casual observer, I seemed to be lazing about, wasting time and, it could be argued that that would be an accurate portrayal. If I were supposed to be doing something in particular, that assessment would be guilt-inducing. But, if I framed it as taking the afternoon off, I gave myself tacit permission to do whatever I wanted. And, once I did that, there was no reason to feel guilty.

In fact, instead of feeling guilty, I wondered why I don't do this more often. 

This afternoon, I made a choice. I didn't fritter away my time or waste the day. I made a choice to relax and catch my breath in preparation for my next foray into my never-ending to-do list. It's a choice that doesn't get much support in a society where a Google search for productivity yields 489,000,000 results in under one second (I'm not making that up), but some days, it's the right choice. 

And today was one of them. 

No comments:

Post a Comment