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“Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should do, they never get around to do what they want to do.”—Kathleen Winsor
People often ask me how I schedule time off. Their lives are so crowded with work, family, hobbies, outings, appointments, obligations, etc. that they look at the calendars and just can’t see how they can get everything done and still have “Do Nothing Days” or regular time off.
It’s really a very simple process. You open your calendar, pick a day, draw a line through it, and that’s your day you’ve booked with your most important client—yourself!
People who are over-committed often gasp and laugh nervously when I tell them this. They are overwhelmed with too much to do. I ask them how often they get sick. When they say “Pretty often,” I tell them that that is their body’s message to them to take a break and lie low for a while. Wouldn’t it be better to take the break while you’re well so you can enjoy it? Get in front of the process and plan time off instead of letting the cold catch you when you’ve run yourself down.
When someone wants to schedule a meeting with you on your day off, don’t tell them “Oh, no, that’s my day off.” You’ll feel guilty and they’ll talk you into meeting with them, and now your day off has become a work day. You just say instead, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m booked that day, how about next Thursday instead?” You really can do this—it works great!
Someone will always ask me at this point, “Well, what if the most important person in the world calls to meet with you that day and you could make a million dollars and they are only going to be in town that one day—what do you do then?” I tell them that’s why they made erasers—so you erase the line you drew through that day on the calendar and schedule the million dollar meeting. But then you immediately draw a line through an alternate day on the calendar and that new day becomes your day off! Trading days is okay—canceling days off completely is not.
You schedule time off as a commitment to your health and your sanity and to replenish your supply. The irreplaceable million-dollar piece of business equipment you own is your body—treat it with care, respect, and regular maintenance. You deserve—and need—regular breaks!
“I love my life!”
I am now officially an expert at scheduling time off.
I wasn’t always, you know. For many years, I was the Queen of Over-Commitment, running hither and yon, doing too many projects, attending too many business events, never getting enough rest, relaxation, or vacation. You know the type. Triple AAA.
Life is so much more enjoyable at a more relaxed pace! I make sure to leave big blank spaces in my day runner so I can choose to relax or go out with friends or be spontaneous. (I remember when the men’s singles ads used to say they wanted a gal who could be spontaneous, and I would think. Sure! I can be spontaneous next Tuesday at 3:00…I have a feeling that’s not what they meant.)
Life goes by faster as we get older. Someone told me once that the reason for that is that when you’re 20, one year is 1/20th of your life so it seems longer than when you’re 60 and one year is 1/60th of your life. It’s harder to hold on to the moments that seem to pass so swiftly. It seems I have just left for a vacation when suddenly, I’m returning from it. Where did all the time go?
We must make space and time in our busy lives for contemplation, meditation, and just goofing off. I love the blank spaces in my schedule where I feel free to make a decision in the moment about what I want to do, instead of rushing to do what I must do.