Lifeskill: Learning To Use Lulls

I feel like I have been hurtling through 2018. Several personal and business trips kept me on the road more than usual, and then I have been playing catch up when I am back in the office. But, there is some light on the horizon. Just a couple more events that are going to be lots of fun and then a week of vacation to cap off the month.

But even in the midst of all the busy-ness including heading into the overlap between the spring and summer semesters of my online course, I woke up to a lull today. I certainly had a to do list but nothing on it was pressing. I answered a few emails, did two phone meetings in the morning, and then decided everything else could wait until tomorrow or over the weekend. I needed some breathing space and took advantage of a nice day to dig in the garden, moving a few hostas and sweet william and doing some general cleanup.

I call this a lifeskill–the ability to know when to work and when, even though it is a Thursday afternoon, you can put aside work for a bit of a break. I think it’s one that is hard to learn in a classroom or regular job. Working from home as part of the gig economy means tuning into the natural ebb and flow of work rather than following an established number of hours each day, otherwise known as seat time.

You can create a daily routine that matches your preferences for when and where to work. From there, you may find a weekly routine (established events or activities) or identify a yearly pattern (ie, busy in the fall teaching a course with less work in the summer). Why is this important? Because if you don’t identify these moments of “lull,” you will just keep working. At some point, nothing on the to do list is on fire or a live frog or any other kind of emergency so you can put it aside for a few hours or a day. A mental health day or mini-vacation. Even the most passionate person needs time to be away from the work, maybe pursuing some other passion or finding space for relaxation.

Today I enjoyed a lull, and I’ll be better for it tomorrow.

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