I scheduled this post to be published in the middle of a long-awaited and well-deserved vacation. My out-of-office reply indicates that I will not be responding to emails until I return to the office. And I mean it. This is a firm boundary and, frankly, one that should not be out of the norm. While I am generally a rule follower, I do have a rebellious streak, and I fight back hard against the notion that one should always be at work.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I wrote an article for a newsletter for an organization I belong to, and the audience was “church ladies,” many of whom are retired or not in the workplace. I shared my insights on taking a break from always being “at work” now that my home and office were one and the same, and surprisingly my message resonated well with the audience. We all need breaks and downtime. Hitting the pause button is a good thing.
I am sharing an excerpt from that article and hope that you will also find inspiration – and if you need it, permission – to hit pause.
As I write this article, I am beginning my sixth week of working remotely due to the pandemic. I am fortunate that I can do almost all of my work at home and that my law practice has not slowed down. The stress so many of my clients are facing because of financial uncertainty, and social upheaval has made my cases particularly intense of late.
Late on a recent Friday afternoon, I was talking with a client who has been under considerable personal and business stress. As we were ending our call, I told her she was to take the weekend off, get some sleep, and try her best not to think about her case. Lawyer’s Orders! She thanked me and said that I had better take the weekend off, too.
My client’s words reminded me of one of my favorite catchphrases I use when teaching programs on delegating and teamwork: We are all wonderful women, but we do not have to be Wonder Woman. Against my strong inclinations to put out one more fire before I logged off, to check my business email first thing on Saturday morning, and spend Sunday night restlessly thinking about the week ahead, I followed my client’s advice. I took time for and took care of myself that weekend. Nagging to-do lists and l projects could wait . . . and did. I took time to pray, to reflect, and to relax. I began the week feeling more focused, refreshed, and ready to help my clients than I have in a long time.From my newsletter article called “Self-Care for Leaders.”