I have to admit to feeling a little burnt out lately. I am low on motivation and having trouble focusing. I’m also mentally exhausted most of the time – everything seems overwhelming. Life is a drudge!
This is not my normal state, so I sat down to think about how to get myself back on track. In reviewing my days and life, I realized that I’ve been working every single day. Not the whole day, but I’ve done some work every day for months. Not good.
We humans need breaks. One study cited in The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal has stuck with me: The United States Army used gunnery crews for a study on productivity. One crew was instructed to shoot as many shells as possible over a three-day period. The second crew was told to take naps at intervals. The first day, the nonstop shooters outperformed the nappers. However, on the second day, the accuracy of the nonstop shooters got worse, and the nappers gained the lead for good.
We all need recovery time! I definitely need some recovery time. So, I decided to schedule a day of nothing but fun. I plan to do only things that I enjoy for one full day.
Of course, that requires some planning and preparation. I will need to get laundry done ahead of time, as well as any work projects. It will have to be a day with no meetings or networking events. I will not check email or get on the computer for anything that isn’t fun. Facebook, by the way, is not fun. It’s a distraction, but not fun in my book.
It’s more fun to think about what my summer fun day will include. First, there will be no alarms in the morning — definitely no alarm. I am an early riser, anyway, so that’s not a limiter on my day. The day will include a leisurely trip to my favorite nursery to pick out some plants. I won’t plant them that day, but I will enjoy browsing, learning, and picking out a few.
The day will also include reading something light and engaging. Maybe it will be a romance novel! I haven’t read anything with a Fabio-type manly man on the cover in years. Perhaps it would be a good idea to do that reading by a pool. There are some outdoor pools that I haven’t checked out.
Dinner will be at a restaurant with a friend or two. We will celebrate fun, friendship, and summer fun. Perhaps it will end with a movie and popcorn, either in a theater or at home.
Oh, I also want a foot massage! I could stop in at the place in the mall if I don’t want to make an appointment.
Half the fun is thinking about fun things to do! Maybe I won’t get them all done, but I absolutely won’t be doing any work.
Moments of rejuvenation each day are also important and something that I want to include more in my life. Dr. Richard Boyatzis found that if executives include a few moments of one renewal activity every day, they can avoid burnout. His study identified four categories of rejuvenating actions: hope, mindfulness, compassion, and fun.
Hope can include talking or thinking about the future in a positive way. Mindfulness can be paying attention to your breath for a minute or so. Compassion is just helping someone else in some way. The last one, fun, is what we are talking about.
My intention is to include fun in each day. I mean, what’s the point of living if we don’t get to have any fun at all? Even if it’s just 10 minutes of fun, I am going to make sure it’s in my day. I also intend to include days of nothing but fun more often. I am going to mark them on the calendar and make sure that nothing is scheduled on fun day.
What will you do on your fun day? If my kids were still small, I would include them. Who will you include? What won’t you do? Fun looks different for each of us; what does your fun look like?
For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.
Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.
If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.