Rest and relaxation are a gift from the industrial revolution forward. Machines doing our work have helped us achieve more and work fewer hours. I’m not sure the technology/mobile device revolution has helped us work less, but we surely do produce more.
I mean, who remembers using the card catalog at the library to research a paper in college and bringing a roll of dimes with you in case you had to print from microfiche? Google has all but eliminated that laborious chore.
Vacations are not my goal nor are they the source of relaxation because I find that I have to work extra hard to prepare for my absence only to find mounds of paperwork when I return. My vacation is plagued by the background worry that I had forgotten to do this or that.
My goal is to make the day relaxing while accomplishing all of my goals, tasks, or what-have-you. The key to me is realizing when my brain has maxed out at a certain task. Once I have reached that point, I switch the task to something opposite. If I had been reading all day, preparing to write a project profile and I feel that I am in a rut, I switch to accounting tasks and vice versa.
I start drafts when I have the idea, I keep my inbox organized and process work in batches, and I have iCal + good-old-sticky-notes to help jog my memory for due dates, tasks, ideas. I also avoid procrastination. Procrastination is the eternal setup for stress and anxiety. The more you procrastinate, the closer the deadline is, the more you have to put other tasks on the back burner, which become late, etc.
I also believe in taking a time-out whether it is a walk outside at break, doing some kind of brain teaser or puzzle, or leaving the office for lunch.
“It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes” ~ St. Thomas Aquinas
“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci
It seems a shame to avoid vacations for fear of work piling up. What has worked well for my wife and me is half-week vacations. We have often taken a Friday through Monday trip to a resort hotel a few hundred miles from here. It’s only a couple of days out of the office, and it’s all we tend to need. We can also do it several times a year if we’re so minded. We have been married 34 years, and in all that time I think we only took a two-week vacation once. In fact we’ve only taken a full week two or three times. All the rest have been extended weekends.
Those are my favorite!
I can relate to a lot of what you are saying because it doesn’t matter how long or short I am gone – nobody is doing my job when I’m not there. But that’s also the good news – everything is still there when I return. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has suffered miserably when I am gone (probably just the opposite).
I do like your approach to keeping the day relaxing – I think I’ll give that a go.
Ironically, today has been very stressful, coming in late after a early morning doctor appointment. We have to have goals though, right?
You reminded me how much I used to love going to the library, the peace and quiet. With a Kindle now I haven’t been for a while but that is an excellent relaxing few hours that I should revisit!
You could go to the library with your Kindle. 🙂
What a really great piece of writing!!