And There Shall Be A Day Of Rest

The folks that came up with the Day of Rest idea were on to something. The last day that I did not use my computer was December 29th, when my wife and I went away for an overnight trip. Before that, I can’t even remember the last time I went more than a few hours without doing something on the computer.

I come from a long line of dedicated workaholics – I hardly ever saw my father when I was growing up – but it’s been easy to deny that I was walking down that same path because I’m doing work that I love and “has meaning.”

In my, somewhat delusional mind, a lawyer who works 60-hours a week is a workaholic, but when you work 60-hours a week writing, coaching and teaching people about the Law of Attraction you’re a saint.

Part of the problem is that my work does not feel like work. I could write and teach all day long and never feel like I was overworking, or working at all! But because of that, and because of the portability of my work (have laptop, will travel – to borrow a tagline from another 9rules member) it is far too easy for me to pop the top and jump online to check my email, read a few blog feeds, make a quick post to Evolving Times or do some other little bit of “work” that doesn’t feel like work.

But it is work. And this weekend, I recognized the need for balance. I recognized the need for a day of rest, or at least, a day without getting on the computer!

So I have made a commitment to have one computer-free day each week and yesterday was the first one. It went well. No shakes. No hallucinations. Just a few longing looks at my laptop as it sat alone on the piano bench.

There is no doubt that this will make me a better writer, coach, teacher, father, husband, and all around human being. No matter how much you love your work, the truth remains; “All work and no play makes Jack (or Ed) a dull boy.”

It’s easy to fall into the trap of delusional thinking, “This isn’t work. Can’t be work, I love it.” But that kind of thinking is a one-way ticket to a one-dimensional life. And a one-dimensional life is no fun for anybody.

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      12 Responses to “And There Shall Be A Day Of Rest”

      1. Dan and Jennifer on January 15th, 2007 8:32 am

        Yeah, a one-dimensional life and possible burnout on stuff you enjoy. Ouch. It’s dangerously easy to make a “job” out of it and become a slave to your own passion.

        Ok Ed, more weirdness (synchronicity anyone?) – we made the same commitment 2 weeks ago… one day every week is a mandatory work free zone. Really.

        Granted we broke that this weekend since we migrated from TypePad to WordPress last week and there were still some migration loose ends. But the spirit lives on.

        This week the no-work day is back! Jennifer’s better at avoiding the computer on those days, but I’m working on it.

        Have an awesome day!

      2. Ms. Q on January 15th, 2007 10:41 am

        Well said! I know what you mean when you write that when you’re passionate about your work, it doesn’t feel like work. But it still is work! I love writing and want to write all the time. When I went on vacation I decided that I would not take my laptop.

        I missed writing but it felt good to let it go. It feels good to give yourself a break – even from your passions. I returned from 2 weeks off rarin’ to go, very refreshed.

        I wrote something similar:

        Your post made me realize that I should *consciously* take a day off. Thanks!

      3. Edward Mills on January 15th, 2007 12:06 pm

        Dan and Jennifer: It is pretty strange how we’re doing the same stuff. Maybe we’re the same people living in different dimensions. Alright, maybe not!

        Congratulations on the big migration. I know that’s a huge job.

        MsQ: Good for you leaving your laptop at home! My wife and I are planning for our fifth year anniversary vacation in May. We’re both having a hard time deciding whether or not to leave our laptops behind! I’ll keep you posted.

      4. Ms. Q on January 15th, 2007 1:30 pm

        Ed – difficult to decide on whether or not to leave the laptop at home when you’re on vacation. I went overseas, which meant that carrying a laptop involved more of a hassle. That made my decision easier. If I were in the States and had a hotel room with Wi-Fi, hmmm. Nice to have a laptop then, especially if you want to download photos, look up info on what to see locally (if you haven’t already), write up notes on your vacation. Decisions, decisions. BUT, 5th year anniversary?

        I’d vote to concentrate on each other! Leave the laptops behind! Load up on supplies from that shop you wrote about, what, 2 months ago? Wink-wink! Nudge-nudge!

      5. Devin on January 15th, 2007 2:20 pm

        Interesting, perhaps I will try this myself. I feel like I need one every day but perhaps I can arrange my schedule around it. Then again, the BlackBerry will always be a tease in my pocket. Sigh…

      6. Edward Mills on January 15th, 2007 3:25 pm

        Ms. Q: You’re so sly! Yes it is, indeed a tough call. We’re definitely looking forward to some much needed and well-deserved alone/together time, and we’re also both very passionate about our writing. We’ll see what happens.

        Devin: Yes, the Blackberry (Palm for me) can be another distraction. But not nearly as enticing as the laptop.

      7. richard on February 16th, 2007 7:47 am

        Good advice. Its too easy to spend all day checking email. It never does any harm to not check every hour!

      8. Evolving Times » The Top 10 Secrets To My Success on March 10th, 2007 10:54 am

        […] Take a day off from the computer each week. This day of rest is a recent addition to my success habits. And I must admit, while I have been successful, it has […]

      9. Edward Mills on March 12th, 2007 6:03 am

        Hi Richard. Yes. Don’t get me started on email! I have not yet mastered that one.

      10. Raymond on August 14th, 2007 3:43 am

        I think I got to learn that too. Presently, I can’t live a day without my laptop and internet connection.

      11. Edward Mills on August 14th, 2007 9:02 pm

        Raymond. I’ve gotten pretty consistent at taking Sundays off. Sometimes if I miss a day of work during the week I’ll sneak a couple of hours of writing in on Sunday. But usually it’s my day to disconnect from the virtual world.

      12. Whatever You Have Done Is Enough : Evolving Times on November 20th, 2009 10:54 pm

        […] I wrote a few years ago, “The folk that came up with a day of rest were on to something!” Back then, my plan was to give myself one day a week without computer access. I stuck to it […]

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