The year 2018 seemed to fly past and, with so many changes in the pipeline, each year appears to pass faster and quicker than ever before. Yet it is important to take some quality time out in order to remain strong, supple and resilient.
When time is short and tasks never ending it is very easy to get caught up in the ongoing, relentless roller coaster of getting things done, completing and then moving on to the next thing. Yet, I was reminded recently of the benefits of walking away for a while.
I had occasion to disappear for a month for reasons of maintaining my health. Before I left I was working 65+ hours a week, briefing my support staff, tying down lose ends and contacting ongoing commitments to explain the necessity of my absence and assuring them that all was in good hands. The long hours and countless communications were nothing unusual, just the context was. It did feel that I was walking away, but I knew I needed to.
Walking away gives you perspective
While I was gone, I kept an eye from afar that my arrangements were working and that nothing urgent or imperative was cropping up but otherwise I went hands off. I maintained my personal promise that I would only check in briefly once a day and would not interact with work unless it was absolutely necessary. I have never been so distant from my work for almost a decade and, though I had qualms and misgivings, I chose to ignore these and really apply myself to the break.
Reading was only fiction, science and fantasy. Watching was only films, visiting was to museums and art galleries, eating was indulged with different cuisines tried, and sleeping was pandered to before anything else. It took about a week before the ‘guilt’ abated but then it was complete and utter bliss. Walking away was painful at first but ultimately a brilliant idea.
Coming back from walking away
I returned totally refreshed. My mind, whilst idling, had obviously need the peace and space as new ideas, perspectives and attitudes have suddenly appeared. Previous obstacles now have potential solutions and no longer appear overwhelming. New avenues to explore have presented themselves and, though my office has an avalanche of emails, calls and post to be dealt with, they are being tackled with clarity and efficiency that had deserted me before. My days are calmer and more productive – a state I am determined to maintain moving forward. Walking away literally gave me headspace.
Try walking away for a while
However busy, frenetic or challenging your life may be, it is so important in today’s world to allow yourself time off. Your brain, body and personal wellbeing need space and rest in order to function efficiently the rest of the time. It needn’t be as long as a month (I’m lucky being self-employed), it could be making a concerted effort to ignore work at the weekend or turn off your electronic devices when you get home. Concentrate on the people, things, hobbies or pastimes’ that give you joy and enrich your soul.
Walk away for a time from your work. Not doing so may well lead to the things we fear most; failure, dis-satisfaction and burn-out.