MY WEEKLY UNPLUG
Every Friday evening, I step away from the computer, switch off the lights in my office and ceremonially mark the end to the work week. For the next 24 hours, I don’t respond to emails or texts related to professional life. I refrain from trying to solve job-related issues (unless there’s a bona fide emergency). This moment of unplugging can feel counterintuitive, especially when the to-do list is endless with problems looming large. But I do it anyway. Trust is part of the point. As critical as this is now when I’m loving my career, it was even more important while I was looking for work and it never seemed like I was doing enough. How can I walk away when there’s so much left to do? Wouldn’t it be more effective to keep powering through?
WE ALL NEED DOWN TIME
Without a firm boundary around your job (whether you’re loaded with work or in search of it) career stress can seep into every crevice of time, and zap joy out of otherwise fun, leisure activities. Taking a preset weekly break (not dependent on goals accomplished) allows us to recharge and refresh our energy. When you’re on overload, frustrated or spinning in circles, time off helps to create physical and mental space, leaving room for the AHA moments where new solutions are discovered.
MAKE ROOM FOR HOPE
Part of my weekly unplug from work includes a worry-free zone. When negative or anxious thoughts pop into my head (which they inevitably do), for this one day a week, I ignore them. I try to actively infuse the time with hope and possibility for a bright tomorrow. This is not avoidance or wishful thinking. It’s the opposite. It’s visioning, a step towards carving out that bright tomorrow. On Sunday, I find my perspective invariably looks different.
HOW TO BEGIN
Pick a day ahead of time. Don’t wait for the moment when you’ve finished your tasks. No matter how productive or seemingly unproductive the 6 other days have been, give yourself this weekly oasis. Have the trust to step away. If a whole day seems too daunting, try a morning. How about this Sunday from 9 to noon? Remember, if your job is looking for work, that’s work, too. You deserve a day off (or 2). You’ve earned this, just for being human. Let me know how it goes.
If you’d like a customized plan for staying centered as you plan your next career, please get in touch.