Cat relaxing

The importance of downtime

As I write this, it’s the day before I return to work after a sabbatical. I’ve spent the last two weeks in Europe, exploring castles in England and munching crepes and escargot in France. What I have not done is anything related to work.

Cat relaxing
By Kreuzschnabel (own work) via Wikimedia Commons

In fact, before I left home I did two things. I removed the sim card from my phone (I got a temporary one in Europe to provide a data plan there) and I shut off my work email, so I wouldn’t get any emails from work even when connected to wifi. In my last team meeting before I left, I made it clear that I would be unreachable while I was gone.

Over the last five years, once thing I’ve noticed is that even when I’m on vacation – whether I’m visiting my family in Colorado or an art museum in Chicago – I still end up answering work emails, which means some of my attention is still on work. It might not take that much time to respond to a few emails, but how much can you relax when you’re still thinking about the job?

Tomorrow, I’ll have many emails to respond to. Tomorrow, people will need my input on many things, and I’ll be busy all day. Today? When I finish this blog post, I’ll be diving into a pluralsight course, without worrying about what I need to do tomorrow. Today, I’ve freed my mind from work for two weeks, and I am relaxed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.