Last year, I started an experiment. It started with a birthday gift from a friend: Wayne Muller’s book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives.
Inspired, I decided to set aside one day a week in which I turn off my devices and disconnect from the electronic world. No phone. No email. No computer. Not even reading on my iPad.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in years.
Suddenly, there was time.
Time to go to the park and watch live music. Time for deeper conversations with my partner and friends. Time for gardening, cooking a leisurely breakfast, taking walks, reading the old-fashioned way– in hard copy print.
And there was space.
Space to really think about the work I’m doing and how I want to grow that. Space to imagine and vision and stare off at the view. Space to let my mind settle and quiet. Space in my schedule.
Initially, yes, it was a challenge. But then it was a welcome respite.
A place where I can more intentionally manage the energy that I bring to the rest of my week. The digital Sabbaths soon moved from an experiment to a regular part of my weekly schedule.
I started talking with others– from moms to CEOs to entrepreneurs– who were doing it, too. Pausing in their business. Pausing in their daily life. Stepping out of the fray for a moment, a day, a week.
So when I began thinking about what I want my next year to look like, as I do every year, pauses and time outs definitely made the cut on what to keep. Even expand.
I became A Person Who Takes Time Out. And I do it because it makes me better at everything else I do.
Do you need to take a little time out? Is it time to hit pause on your busy life, if just for a moment? Here are a few places where an intentional pause can be particularly helpful:
- When you’re incubating new ideas or projects
- When you’re going through a personally challenging experience
- When you feel your momentum starting to slow
- When you don’t know how to get started on your goal
- When you’re so busy that you can’t find the time to eat lunch (that’s when you need it most!)
- When you’re feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do
- When you’re on information overload
- When you catch yourself playing the comparison game
- When you’re emotionally overloaded
- When your energy is consistently flagging
- When you know what to do next and you’re just not doing it
- When you’re about to embark on a big, scary goal-setting adventure
- When work-life balance sounds like a far-off fantasy
- When you’re feeling disconnected from yourself, your values and priorities
In his book, Eat Move Sleep, Tom Rath outlines how simple but profound changes in three key areas can have a lasting impact on our well being (and our performance). I would add Renew to that list. I hope that you do, too.
How– and how often– do you pause, rest and renew? I’d love to hear your experiences.