This week’s Sunday Experiment was… interesting. I was expecting a day reveling in my free time, enjoying every last second cut off from email, social networking and writing.
And I DID have a lovely day. I even took pictures to prove it!
But there was a side effect. I sometimes felt edgy, nervous and distracted by my inability to check email. I don’t think I noticed it as much last week, because I was busy a good part of the day helping Rebekah move back into her dorm (and I hadn’t initiated the email embargo). This week, I’d arranged to be home, and there were definitely times when I was jonesing to check email, Facebook, or to write.
A hazard of loving what you do!
Still, I forced myself to stay off my computer (didn’t open it once!), taking the fact that it was difficult for me to do so as proof that I really NEED to learn to do it.
I feel that way in meditation a lot, too, especially when I go to meditation practice and we have longer, 20-30 minute sits. It’s like I’m trying to claw my way out of my own mind. At times like that, I tell myself, “You can’t run from yourself,” and force myself to be still. It’s not always easy – or to be honest, even pleasant – but I think we SHOULD be able to be still in our own minds. The fact that it is difficult makes me realize how desperately I need to cultivate that ability, because if we can’t retreat into our own minds now and then, how screwed are we?
And just taking this one day a week has made me realize how terribly out of balance I’ve been. That has to change if I want to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit – and I DO.
This week’s lessons learned;
1) Not logging into email helped a lot, even though there were times I was dying to check it. I set an away message late Sunday night letting people know I’d get back to them Monday, and that prevented me from worrying that everyone would think I was a flake for not replying right away. Also, because a lot of people knew I was doing the Sunday Experiment, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people went out of their way to honor it, telling me in advance that they would send me interview questions on Monday (thank you, Nazarea!) and that they would talk to me about specific things then. So I think telling people Sunday is your “day off” helps them recognize the boundary, too.
2) I’ve been working a lot – but not working smart because I’ve been more burned out than I realized. After last week’s Sunday off, I felt really ready to tackle that week’s tasks, and I hit the ground running on Monday. Knowing I had a day off coming, I planned to tackle certain things during the week so I’d be somewhat clear on Sunday (because let’s face it, we’re never *really* in the clear). One of the things I did to work smarter was to start using Freedom again when I wrote during the week. And let me tell you, I am always SHOCKED by what a difference it makes. My head just feels clearer, my mind more focused knowing I can’t log into the internet. I ended up getting way more done last week than usual. That made me feel proud and relieved and more like I DESERVED a day off.
3) Even fun things can be not fun when you have too much on your plate. If you remember, last week, I vowed to plan a couple of nice things for myself to do on Sunday. I ended up with the following list; have a leisurely morning, watch The New World with the kids while we ate lunch, make homemade pizza, take a couch nap, and play Scrabble with Caroline. I managed to do it all — and I enjoyed it! — but there were times when I felt rushed to cram it all in. When Caroline asked if we could make Scrabble a Sunday tradition, I forced myself to tell her we would have to see. Scary how easy it is to slip into overscheduling even a day off! Next week, I’ll think of one or two things I want to do and play the rest by ear.
But it was SO NICE to have all that time away from writing and from the computer, even if I sometimes did feel like an addict looking for a fix. I spent the morning drinking coffee and reading magazines, made homemade apple pancakes with Greek yogurt (will post the recipe for you guys this week), did yoga, watched The New World in the middle of the afternoon (an afternoon movie felt like the epitome of luxury), took a nap, made pizza, watched a documentary with the kids, and played Scrabble with Caroline. Then I meditated and read before bed.
One upside to jonesing for work is that I woke up today READY to get shit done. I’ve already knocked a bunch of stuff off my to-do list. That forced down time made me appreciate the time I have to work.
Plus, I want to get as much done as possible before next week’s Sunday Experiment.
What about you? Did you take the day off? If so, what how did you spend your day? if not, what are the challenges facing you in finding downtime?