I parted ways with a long time client this week. The news did not come as a surprise: changes in life and work had caused him to cancel our weekly sessions more often than not in recent months, and I had been anticipating the conversation. What I hadn’t expected was how it would feel to receive the news.
As teachers we become invested in our students, and this was no exception. Over the years, I had watched his practice grow on the mat and off - I saw him gain flexibility and strength, and more importantly, learn how to better manage the stress of a high-powered job and the many demands of a growing family. But instead of feeling disappointed when we parted ways, I found myself relieved...
A free block on my schedule EVERY WEEK?! How luxurious! But then my mind started racing... An hour every week is 52 hours of productivity a year! I can pick up a new client or class! I can finally sign up for that weekly volunteer shift I have been trying to find time for! I can finish the baby book collecting dust on the shelf! And just like that, "free time" disappeared, taking with it my relief and leaving me wondering how I ended up back where I started.
When I began this venture, I vowed to be more intentional with my time. I consolidated my teaching and writing into dedicated “work” days, outside of which I could focus on the babe - investing time and energy in tea parties and story time and playground visits. But before long, I found myself scheduling clients on my “off” days and then scrambling to find child care. Or accepting just one more writing or editing assignment and rushing to put the babe down for a nap so I could squeeze in an hour of work. Weekends and evenings slowly filled with opportunities to teach workshops or lead trainings, eclipsing family time and foiling my best laid plans.
I recognized the treadmill of my life was moving at a speed I could not sustain when I started looking for excuses to cancel plans with friends, or trying to find a sub for classes I was scheduled to teach. It wasn't that I didn't want to see friends (I did!) or didn't enjoy teaching (I do!); rather, I was desperate for an hour alone without plans or expectations, and that time didn't exist anywhere in my schedule. I knew I needed to make a change.
So I made the decision to be lazy. To sit still when I can. To say no when an opportunity – however appealing – consumes more energy than it generates. I gave myself permission to be unproductive. I started protecting my family time (and my down time) as fiercely as my work time. And that weekly free block? I am keeping it empty – to read, or rest, or bake, or have a tea party with the love(s) of my life.
Can you give yourself permission to unproductive? What would it look like to be lazy?
Thank you for visiting the Starting Over blog. Stop by anytime for a dose of inspiration, tools to help you achieve your goals, and a community of fellow travelers. I hope to see you often!