Practicing What I Preach

January 20, 2012

I'm thinking about my life as a pyramid these days, and it's helping me wrap my mind around the important things.



But first, to back up:

I have a really hard time relaxing.  I don't know why-- but I do.  I've tried a hobby (cooking, traveling, and experimental cocktail making are my favorites, none of which should be done too often, for obvious reasons) and I've developed an affection for serial television on DVD.  Both of these have helped.  But, by nature, I am a multi-tasking, goal-oriented person, and I don't always know how to turn that off.  And, it gets a little exhausting at times.  It actually makes me feel like my own worst enemy.

Ben is usually the grounding force: he shuts down by about 7 pm, and limits himself to cooking dinner, hanging out with me, or watching movies after this point.  He's good at recognizing his limits.  But, lately he's been working a crazy amount.  It's one of the many hard things about starting a business: you don't always know when business is going to slow down, and you want to take advantage of spurts of work.  There is always something additional to do.  Ben hasn't taken a full day off since the holidays.  And, now that I'm working weekends at a restaurant, I don't get my Sundays off anymore.  I swear, the world is just quieter on a Sunday.  I always feel justified in letting things (like emails) go.  Right now time is feeling so valuable, and I want to use as much of it as I can in the best way possible.  I have a hard time remembering the importance of down time.

The saving graces are the two things I'm good at making time for: moving my body, and cooking + eating dinner each night with Ben.  The things that I'm having a hard time making time for are just as important: doing nothing, reading books that aren't related to work goals, and talking about things not related to work goals.

This is where the pyramid comes in.  I realized that this empty space is the most important.  It's the source of my energy and creativity and stability.  It's the foundation for my goals.  I made this janky little chart to remind myself:



It's an obvious metaphor: I can spend all of the time I want learning new tools, developing a business, and throwing myself into these things.  But, if I don't have the habits that balance me underneath this, there's no foundation to support my growth.

So, starting in February, days off are coming back.  Heck, we're even taking a (short) vacation.  And, I'm thinking we might have to institute a technology-free day.

Do you make rules or habits around time off?  What works?

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