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Resting on Labor Day Is Hard Work

Resting on Labor Day Is Hard Work

Fluffy Bunny SlippersDuring a recent family birthday party, my brother-in-law's aunt, an empty nester who travels extensively for work, mentioned that she makes plans for her down time. When I say "plans for her down time," I don't mean weekend getaways or family occasions, per se; she actually has to reserve her own hang-out-in-pajamas, not-doing-squat moments. Possessing a true type A personality, Auntie schedules her time away from daily (frequently spilling into nightly) job demands, booking appointments with herself to do absolutely nothing, or at least as little as possible.

Now that's a lady who needs to heed the call of Labor Day. If I were staging a workaholics intervention, I'd hide Auntie's work cell phone, laptop and watch, replacing the potentially treacherous devices with herbal tea and a spa certificate.

Auntie's situation is pretty much par for the course for many of us. In a digital era that demands constant access, it can be tough for us to give ourselves permission to relax. Some people even feel guilty for not working on their days off.

A mentor once told me, "Go find your life -- the one outside the office. I don't care if it's volunteer work, cooking classes or hiking trips. Just have something that's purely for you, away from work." He was right. Every time I go off on some random adventure, big or small, I always return with a pearl of an idea or an insight to a business dilemma that requires little more than down time and breathing room to be born. The revelation makes perfect sense: One can't think outside the box if one never leaves it.

This Labor Day, be a lazy loaf. Free your mind to wander, roam and play without guilt or explanation. I'll be at a barbecue with Auntie, serving up her work phone as the main course.

Enjoy!

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