Last week I did something I don’t usually do and took a snow day. Generally, I’m the guy who trudges through whatever the conditions might be, the mail must get through, etc., but last Friday, waking up to what I fully admit was a lackluster amount of snowfall, it was enough to make me think I’d rather just stay home.
Wild thought, right? Look out for this guy.
I’m actually a huge proponent of the “mental health day,” and I’ll generally give myself one or two a year. Fortunately, thanks in no small part to its hippie legacy, The Aquarian is cool with such things, and on a week such as last week—with extra stress added owing to issues personal, unexciting and irrelevant—it was really more the feeling of being overwhelmed than the fact that my road hadn’t been plowed yet that kept me out of the office.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think anyone gave a crap. You’ll notice the paper still got out. And from my end, even though I still spent the whole day sitting in front of my laptop, I got a decent amount of writing done and was able to do it without feeling like I needed to check my email and answer yet another, “So-And-So is a must-see artist playing SXSW—there will be beer—see you there!” press release by telling whoever’s doing such pitching that I’m not going to SXSW. I got to stay in my pajamas, sit on the couch with my dog (who comes to work with me anyway), make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, not worry about the ringing phone, or the office hullaballoo, or the inevitable craziness that a deadline brings. Basically I wasted the day, which was just what I most needed to do.
The issue isn’t that I have some disdain for working in the office here at AQ Headquarters, just that for a place as laid back as it is, sometimes there’s an awful lot going on. You know how it is. Six tasks to complete at once, two computer screens staring back at you at once, rising voices, lowering voices, no indoor voices, it gets to a point of sensory overload. Wasn’t a concern on my snow day.
In this country, we have this idea that if you work hard, you get ahead. The harder you work, the farther you get. It’s mostly bullshit. Nonetheless, I believe in working hard and more to the point, I believe in taking pride in what you do and in pursuing that which you feel you can take pride in as a profession. Here I am. That said, it’s worth taking a look around yourself and realizing that you’re not doing any favors either to yourself or those around you by beating yourself in the head with a hammer when you could take a few hours out and come back all the more effective for it.
That’s exactly what I did. After taking off Friday for the snow, I came in Saturday afternoon and busted through 300-plus emails (no less than 70 percent of which contained the letters S-X-S-W) and the rest of my Friday work in record time, still feeling refreshed for having taken the day I needed to take. It’s not about hating my job, which I don’t, or about not being able to handle doing it, which I can. It’s just about needing a day off.
So if you’re in a similar position, maybe you can find a convenient excuse if you feel you need one, or maybe you can just take a day when you most need it, but if nothing else, consider this a reminder that some days are best wasted and that sometimes inertia on a Friday is worth sacrificing a Saturday afternoon, that it’s possible to come out ahead in that trade.
Have a great week.