Thursday, May 20, 2010

Take a Day Off

I can still hear the brogue, rough and smooth at the same time. "Take a day off" my grandfather would often say. Yet he, Patrick O'Connor, was one of the hardest workers I've ever seen. Clearly he knew the reality of balance and his wisdom is essential in our 24/7 environment.

Technology pushes us to be constantly present. Reports of people sleeping with their PDAs by them on the pillow is not uncommon. As technology allows us to stray from the office, simultaneously it binds us to our work late into the evening and on weekends. There is a societal expectation of immediate response to a text or email and often if we don't respond immediately the person will call to find out why we did not answer. This is not healthy especially when trying to unleash personal greatness. Why?

Without the mental and physical down-time there is no rejuvenation. We need time away both mentally and physically to allow our bodies and minds the rest they deserve. Beside, though we think we will accomplish more as we toil away 24/7 it is simply not true. We are less creative, vulnerable to stress, and gradually unable to function.

Simply taking 20 minutes at lunch to GET AWAY from your desk can drive more productivity in the afternoon. But taking a full day off, to most of us that is not possible. Yet, taking time to be quiet, to think, to rest is one of the most powerful, productive strategies we can employ. It is in those moments that new ideas blossom, relationships develop and the body replenishes. It's not easy. I know. But over the past month I've explored taking quiet time in the morning, before turning on the computer, my PDA, or reading the news. Creative ideas came in those early hours, along with some necessary soul searching.

My grandfather was right. Take a day off. It will do you good; body, mind and soul.


Mara said...

That's what I love about Orthodox Judaism. For 25 hours, it's all about downtime and rejuvination.
Your point re: expecting quick responses resonates as technology integrates itself with our emotional world,the added anxiety from not getting an immediate response is a real detriment to overall wellbeing and the ability to focus on the 'here and now' of reality.

Greatness Project said...

Mara, love your comment about Orthodox Judaism. All of us need downtime and integrating it as part of our lives is the key. Thanks for the insight.