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The Benefits of the Day Off

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Last night my two daughters, aged 4 and 1-1/2, woke me up no fewer than EIGHT times. On six of those occasions I had to drag myself out of bed and calm down somebody who was screaming, crying, or both. My husband, who had worked on an office homework project until 1 a.m., was no help. It was up to me._DSF1862.jpg

Naturally, when I woke up for the ninth time and had to face a workday I was exhausted. I had two grants due last week, two due the week before that, an all-day planning session over the weekend, four final reports due by June 1, and a whole list of household issues that needed attending. I spent part of yesterday in the hospital with a seriously ill relative. In other words, stick a fork in me; I was DONE.

Now, normally I'm a "press on regardless" type, but today my mind and body went on strike. I simply could not dredge up the mental energy and concentration needed to get started on those reports. In one of those rare moments of perfect clarity, I realized that I had to come up with Another Plan.

So today I gave myself permission to work on the nagging little things that have been piling up. I called a preschool to line up a visit. I registered the girls for summer swim lessons. I entered invoices into Quickbooks. I did laundry. I deadheaded the petunias. I finished my last blog entry (was it really a month ago? oh my). Shortly I will take a nap.

And I feel about 100% better for it. I know that tomorrow I'll be able to tackle those final reports with a new degree of enthusiasm and creativity because I was able to rest, regroup, and accomplish some small but meaningful milestones. The moral here is that more work isn't always the best way to achieve results.

Can you take a "day off" from the major worries that are plaguing your nonprofit, and maybe give some attention to the details that have been nagging and tormenting you? Success is one of life's most restorative experiences, even if it's in the little things. In fact those little things can be diverting you from focusing on some larger question. Get them done, or at least dealt with, and you might just restore your equilibrium in time for a brilliant insight into the big issues.

Please tell me about your experiences playing "hookey." I'd love to hear from you.

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