I’m writing this from my porch, on one of my final days of vacation leave from the office.
Our season is usually a pretty intense one, with long days and weeks that run together. I find that the odd free day that we get is usually completely spent on surfing email and voicemail messages for emergencies (which always seem to happen on company days off…Murphy’s Law, I suppose), doing laundry, and trying to regain a sense of normalcy with my little family. I know that I’m not alone in navigating the thin line that has become the border between work and home, especially in the arts when so many of our ‘employees’ and ‘colleagues’ are also close personal friends.
So when I happened upon this article from the Harvard Business Review (granted, while sitting in a rocking chair on the porch, while wearing my favorite par of yoga pants and drinking my third cup of coffee), it made me pause.
One of the reasons I loved music in the first place – the making it more than simply listening in my own case – was that it could very easy get me into a place of flow, where I could lose whole hours exploring, refining, creating. When I started at my current position, the assimilation of new tasks, responsibilities, social morés all contributed to a similar feeling – staying on top of the game, trying to find ways in which it could be made better.
By the end of the summer? I’m just hoping that I have enough clean clothes to make it through the last performance without offending anyone, and enough brain cells to make sure I talk to the right folks, get the books closed properly, and get next season’s budget and NEA applications submitted. It’s a drastic change of perspective, and not a wholly welcome one.
But here, at the end of a full week away from the office, with very little traction with goings-on, I’m starting to feel re-energized. Like Tony Schwartz, the author of the HBR article, I’m reminded of how much we need time to recharge, to wipe the slate clean…and how, when we allow ourselves the time and space our mind naturally returns to those passions in an organic – and exciting – way.
If you’ve not had the time/inclination/ability to separate yourself from your job for a little bit of mental R&R (and, for the record, I am a HUGE fan of the Staycation.) I hope you’ll consider unplugging for just a little bit. (And if you can’t get away, Lifehacker has a Paleo Media Diet that should help you with clearing out the cobwebs in the attic and all of those archived mental emails.)