Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Another Day (Off)

Man resting in hammockAs most of you already know, when I decided to go full-time on my business, I also made the commitment to myself that I would not work at all on Sundays. That was the day for spending time with my wife, for getting some chores done around the house, and for just kicking back a little and recharging. No email, no phone calls, no programming.

Well, I've now had four such days off and I've got to tell you, I wish I had done this a long time ago. Before the beginning of this year, I was working part time for the University of Michigan and part time on my business. If I wasn't working on Sunday, I was feeling guilty for not working on Sunday. How messed up is that? I've had a number of small projects to do around the house for months (some for years). in the past, I was always waiting for a break in my schedule to attend to these tasks. You can guess what would happen. Right. Nothing. Oh, I would feel guilty that they weren't getting done, but, what could I do? I had work to do.

Now, during my work week, I don't feel that guilt. After all, I know that I have a day dedicated to completing those projects. And when I wake up on the "day of rest", I get pretty excited about all of the possibilities for the day. Just yesterday, for example, I finished the repair work on the drapery rods for our front room, re-organized my basement workshop, and found time to sit with my wife and watch one of my favorite movies, The Sixth Sense.

If you are a sole-proprietor or small business owner, take my advice. Set aside at least one day a week as a "not work" day. I guarantee that you'll still get pretty much the same amount done in your business and you'll become a real hero around the house. Who knows? Maybe your spouse will even remember what you look like!

So, how do you refresh yourself each week?


Anonymous said...

So what I am reading is that you are almost done with your list of house things...great. Please schedule to work on your sister-in-laws list. nnnnkay?!

Unknown said...

Yeah, I'll get right on that.

Spencer said...

I used to "bring work home" all the time. I'd be up late at night working, working on the weekend, running back into the office to fix "one more thing."

Something about having kids makes it a lot easier to not work on the weekends. I use my computer on the weekend -- to play games, upload to and browse Flickr, do crossword puzzles, and other such recreational activities.

And, despite the downsides, having gone through a few months of Extreme Programming also made it easier to do work at work and other stuff at home, just because during those months there was no choice -- I got practice in "not working" outside work.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the comment, Spencer. This is actually one of the reasons that I may eventually get an office outside the home. As of now, though, I'll just have to use my willpower to keep work in its proper place.