• Don’t Feel Guilty About Free Time

sharpen-the-saw

I spent this past week on vacation.  The first part was over the holiday weekend, hanging out with our extended family in the mountains.  It was fun to catch up with family and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.  Although I enjoy traveling and seeing everyone, it’s really not relaxing to me.  I’m at a point in my life where I try to take at least one day off work before I travel and one day off after I return home.  These days off at home are what are truly relaxing to me.

Introverts, don’t feel guilty about letting your mind take a break. It may just be the medicine you need!

This time, I took off a few extra days after our trip. It’s been nice to have a little more time off; however, I still have plenty to do at home too.   I found my mind wanting to take a little more vacation, but I was feeling guilty for not constantly getting things done.  As an introvert, I naturally spend time in deep thought.  Some great strengths like creativity and strategic planning come from this and I know that I do best with a little alone time every day, so I can think without interruption.  I often can’t help but to think about what I need to do at work, at home, for my blog, and so many other things. 

In his book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” leadership guru Stephen Covey discusses the importance of self-renewal in his seventh step – Sharpening the Saw.


“Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Here are some examples of activities:

Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
Social/Emotional: Making social and meaningful connections with others
Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service

As you renew yourself in each of the four areas, you create growth and change in your life. Sharpen the Saw keeps you fresh so you can continue to practice the other six habits. You increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you. Without this renewal, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive, and the person selfish. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Feeling good doesn’t just happen. Living a life in balance means taking the necessary time to renew yourself. It’s all up to you. You can renew yourself through relaxation. Or you can totally burn yourself out by overdoing everything. You can pamper yourself mentally and spiritually. Or you can go through life oblivious to your well-being. You can experience vibrant energy. Or you can procrastinate and miss out on the benefits of good health and exercise. You can revitalize yourself and face a new day in peace and harmony. Or you can wake up in the morning full of apathy because your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone. Just remember that every day provides a new opportunity for renewal–a new opportunity to recharge yourself instead of hitting the wall. All it takes is the desire, knowledge, and skill.”


So, this vacation, while I still did plenty of thinking about the usual concerns, I decided to give my mind a much-needed break.  I spent a little time letting my mind just wander.  I enjoyed the mind-break, but with so much to do, and so much going on at my work, I still felt a little guilty.  Shouldn’t I be doing something productive?  As I learn more about being my most effective, I am discovering that not only do I need some alone time to do my day to day work, I also need some time to relax.  This relaxation is good for my mind and I should not feel guilty about it.  I think I am ready to start the work week after some travel, some down time at home, and sharpening the saw with a little down-time for my mind. 

 

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