“The spirit of God is loosed in your work. Where this spirit is, there is liberty.”
Remember as a child, waking up on a school day, peeping through the blinds, and being surprised by the snow that had fallen during the night? I grew up in Texas and snow was rare, yet I still can feel that sudden surge of joy, that feeling of freedom when you heard, “Due to inclement weather, there will be no school today.” Yea! A snow day meant searching closets for warm gloves, scarves, and earmuffs — the things we had not used since the last time it snowed. A snow day meant racing outside to touch it, to feel it, and to see how the snow had changed our backyard into a white wonderland. A snow day meant exploring the neighborhood and stomping through the white dust with the same buddies I usually met at the school bus every morning.
How would you like to feel that freedom — that joy — again? What a relief to know you did not have to meet the responsibilities of a normal workday. All of us long for some downtime, a change of pace, the freedom to just lounge around, thumb through some magazines, build a fire or watch a movie.
Ah, downtime, the white space on your schedule. Who doesn’t long for more free time to do whatever your heart desires and go wherever it leads?
Appealing? Well, you may need a “snow day,” a day to rejuvenate your spirit in order to meet the demands of tomorrow’s to-do list.
The desire to take a day off may actually be an opportunity to make more money, be more productive at work, and ultimately increase the profitability of your company! When coaching executives and entrepreneurs, I find most of them are focused on quality control, timelines, and deadlines. They are too preoccupied to realize that working harder is not always smarter and the life they are creating is not the life they set out to live.
Passion and excitement, our spirit, get lost in the mind focused on work and production 24/7. That same zeal is just waiting to break free and run outside! Build that snowman! Throw that snowball! Take a snow day!
A Snow Day for the Busy Executive
Schedule a day just for you. Yes, it would be better to plan it out and let everyone at work know that you will be gone, unlike a kid’s snow day. In this case, the planning is part of the fun. Save up a day to do nothing productive or responsible in order to be more productive and responsible the next day. It may not be as easy as it was in your childhood when you knew, the minute you saw that snow, exactly what you wanted to do. At first, an adult snow day may blind you with its whiteness, its sense of emptiness. But if you just blink a couple of times, your eyes will adjust quickly to the white spaces on your calendar. On your snow day, call a friend to play with you. Build a fire. Read a good book. Paint that picture. Play that piano. Ride your bicycle. Putter in the garden. Treat yourself for a day.
You will find the results to be staggeringly productive.
Jill owns her own franchise, and she tells me she thinks about her business every hour of every day. Her doctor and husband have told her to slow down. Her emotions are out of control, and her sleep is interrupted by nightmares of higher overhead costs and lower profits.
She agreed to take one day off each week for a month as an experiment in her coaching. The first snow day, she decided to get two extra hours of sleep! She was a little hesitant to take off the whole day. I challenged her to go a step further and try a whole day off. She happily spent the second snow day on the golf course, and the third was spent buying some art supplies and trying her hand at painting. When the fourth snow day came around, she asked her husband to take the afternoon off and stay at home with her. He did, and they pretended they were snowed in.
Results? Happier employer. Happier employees. Happier husband. Happier children. The bank balance? Well, the day after she chose to spend the afternoon painting, she was sitting in a meeting with her CFO when the answer to a quality-control problem came to her, which would eventually save the company thousands of dollars. After the third snow day, her employees surprised her with a sign over her office door that read, “Welcome back. Take more time off, Boss!”
After the last snow day of our experiment, she realized that instead of her usual attitude of “dreading to see what problems the day will bring,” she was now eager to get to work each day.
Three Action Steps to Free Up Your Spirit
What could you do to allow your spirit to come alive again in your workday? Like Jill, you could:
Step 1. Schedule yourself into your own calendar. Choose a day in the future and write your name/Snow Day on that day. Make sure you have no commitments or deadlines looming up ahead that might interfere with your commitment to yourself.
Step 2. A few days before the Snow Day itself arrives, put your child self in charge of deciding what you will do that day. Think of what you loved to do in the summer when there was no school and remember what you felt like the last day of school when you cleaned out your locker and ran out the school door to greet summer. Savor that feeling as you await your snow day.
Step 3. On the morning of your snow day, see the pure white space looking back at you from your schedule. Instead of the white blinding you, allow it to free you to do, or be whatever you like, for that one day. Announce to your spirit that its unlimited imagination may lead today!
Or, simply look out the window tomorrow morning when the alarm goes off. Pretend the ground is covered with white stuff. Freedom at last!
Make more money!
Take a snow day!