It’ll come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have trouble switching off. My iPhone is a permanent attachment to my right hand, a demanding little task master who cracks his whip with every insistent notification ping. I NEED YOU TO DO SOMETHING NOW. He’s basically the technology equivalent of a toddler. Demanding little bastard.
(or should it be ‘her’?? I mean, I have the rose gold version – that’s not very manly, is it?)
I’ve felt the hot, blinding light of anxiety creeping up for awhile now. A couple of weeks. It’s sitting there in my stomach – kind of like when you go out for dumplings and somehow you eat those last three on the plate because, I mean, it’d be rude to just let them get cold when they’re clearly so freaking delicious – and then little more than five minutes later they’ve joined forces with all the other asian food in your belly and you’ve got one super uncomfortable Dumpling Baby rolling around. You’ve got two choices here kids. Unbutton your jeans and step away from the table or ignore it and order dessert, because thou shall not be defeated by food.
I’ve made this mistake before. Pushing through. It’s soooo bloody tempting. Just open up your laptop and keep powering on, because that’s what winners do, right? Wrong. (insert annoying game show buzzer noise here) It works for a couple more weeks until just one tiny, insignificant thing rocks your carefully stacked life boat, and you literally sink (actually figuratively, but it doesn’t have the same impact, you know? Soz, grammar nazis…). Everything comes crashing down around you (like that time I stacked it leaving the bar with a full tray of shots, praise the lord it was in in the pre-Snapchat era), and you somehow wind up doing that ugly hysterical crying because you can’t find your favourite mug in the office kitchen while everyone else considers some sort of temporary psych hold might be in your very best interests.[eltd_blockquote text=”Even my relaxation time comes with a guide book.” title_tag=”h2″ width=””]
(Side note: I keep my favourite mug at my desk, so the above story is for illustrative purposes only. But, I may or may not have once been completely tipped over the edge at work because someone suggested a last minute social media post – which I think we can all admit is just as ridiculous. Maybe even more so. Good mugs in the office are hard to find, y’know?)
The writing’s been on the wall for me for awhile (ugh, and so bloody early into the New Year, too…) and as we sit on the edge of six weeks of work madness just over the horizon, I made the only sane decision. Chill Weekend. It. Is. On. Lazy Town, meet your newest citizen.
So, if you’re like me, in need of an oil change, here’s a few little tips that will maximise that recharge. (Oh jeebus. Even my relaxation time comes with a guide book. But these are essential, promise, and not too preachy.)
8.30pm on a Friday night is not ‘Friday’. And a chill weekend doesn’t mean ‘time to do the work overflow’.
Do you have any idea how hard it is for an A-Type personality with cancelled plans to pull the pin on Friday night when their to-do list is only half done? I mean, guys – I have all this spare time now, right? What’s a couple more hours on the tools if it means a head start on next week, amiright?? Sometime, the only thing that drags my sad butt away from the comptuer is the very real fear of someone waiting at the bar because I’m already 10 minutes late, tapping another passive aggressive ‘how far away r u?’ text message.
So, with no-one to report into but myself (oh, and I guess the Overlords of Chill Town), I very nearly failed at the first hurdle. With the workload mounting, a few tasks hit the This Must Get Done on Friday or the World Will Actually End status. So I stayed late. Banging out those with Defcon 5 Level Red Alert status.
One of which required someone else to send me their input, before I could get started.
I had set the deadline at the start of the week. It’s part of a larger project, so it was the latest I could submit to the wider project team. I had sent reminders. I’d used words like ‘rad’ and ‘ace’ to try and tone down the increasing anxiety I was feeling that this wasn’t going to get done in time – while asking if I could possibly get it as early as possible as I still needed do my parts and submit it on Friday – so you know, end of day Friday was still kinda pushing it.
And as I pressed save on the final task of the week ready to dive into my comfy pants and a bottle of red, somewhere circa 8.20pm on Friday night, there it arrived with a little ping. The info I’d been chasing all week, unapologetically pushing it’s way into my inbox.
I had two choices. Make another cup of coffee and begrudgingly get stuck into about an hour’s worth of work. Or finish closing down my laptop and go home, making peace with the fact that we had missed the deadline.
I chose option B.
Missing deadlines stresses me out more than I can possibly put in words. But at the end of the day, 8.30pm on a Friday night is personal time, and heck, if I can’t put some boundaries around where Work Em ends and Life Em begins, then I’m in a whole world of trouble.
TV is not relaxing.
Netflix and Chill? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. NOPE.
Remember when we used to sit down and watch TV? These days, I sit down, laptop and phone in hand, and I think my current 2016 record is about 17 minutes. Yep, that’s just 17 short minutes of actual ‘paying attention to this episode of *insert latest TV show I’m binge watching* before I found myself absentmindedly answering a few emails and catching up on the latest from the American Presidential Race via Twitter. (and when I use the words ‘catching up’, I actually mean staring at my phone with a complete look of confusion, uttering the words ‘WTF are you doing ‘Merica? Who? How is Donald Trump actually winning preliminaries? What? Why? Who is taking that man seriously?’)
Thanks to the rise of second screen phenomenon, somehow, I’ve completely conditioned myself to the notion that television = doing other shit at the same time. And when the time comes when I actually don’t have anything else I need to do, turns out, I have the single focus attention span of a gold fish. If I switched on a movie – heck even a good one – I’d find myself gravitating towards the devices before the opening credits had even finished.
So this weekend, I read. An actual real book, not the made-into-a-blockbuster-starring-Rachel-McAdams version of the book. (ok, an iBook because that’s my thing, but it’s basically the same thing for people who live inner suburbs and don’t have the space to store legit paper books…) Have you ever tried to live tweet and read? It’s impossible. And that’s a good thing.
Lazy does not equal slob. Learn the difference.
Here’s the thing. A good lazy sesh is about nourishing yourself and recharging the batteries. It’s not about wearing the same t-shirt all weekend that can tell the story of the meals you’ve consumed. (salsa from the nachos, and you’re pretty sure that green stuff is from this morning’s smashed avo…)
Get up. Go to yoga. (oh yes. That’s right. There’s exercise involved). Have a shower and put on real clothes. Eat proper food on your ‘good’ crockery (you know the ones. That expensive and well matched set that you purchase for when you hold those dinner parties you somehow never get around to…But you know, JUST IN CASE, GUISE). Put on a face mask. Go on a long walk with the dog, instead of the regular jaunt that you know takes exactly 27 minutes. Drink proper green tea, made with loose leaves, of out a real teapot – instead of your usual routine of chucking a tea bag in that horrendous promo mug you got at a digi conference last year. (But seriously, thanks Twitter. It’s a great mug.)
The aim of the game is to end the weekend feeling like the same way you do when you come back from holiday – slightly zen, completely chill and with a ‘ain’t nothing gonna break my stride’ sense of relaxation. (Isn’t it weird how being relaxed actually makes you more productive?) Not with an extra 5 kgs around the mid-section and something un-identifiable in your hair, that you’re only 90% sure is food.
Cheers to the freaking weekend, indeed.