(To me, a day-off in a week is mandatory to keep my work life balance, and for my overall well-being).
Yesterday was my day off. Very much needed to rest my body from our last week’s car trip. Usually it’s the bike ride makes me tired, but this time it was a long walk for 2 days during our road trip. My legs begging me to crawl onto the bed, never wanting to leave for the whole day at least. The reason being this tired was that we stood in the que for 3.5 hrs on Sunday, walked for about 8kms to darshan Athi Varadar in Kanchipuram Varadaraja Perumal Temple. We went on two days car trip to Vellore and Kanchipuram on Sunday and Monday, since Rajesh had to work on Saturday. On Monday, we visited Vellore Golden Temple, again it was a good walk for 2.3 km from the temple main gate to Goddess Lakshmi darshan.
Bike trip or Road trip, Rajesh usually never take a break from going to office. Body pain or headache, he pops a pill, grabs a coffee, he is off the door by 11 am. Despite being self-employed, despite having a team working for him, despite having the luxury of taking off anytime he wants, he never takes off on weekdays.
Main Objective of My Tuesdays-Off and How it helps in my Work life Balance:
Since 2019, I am intentionally taking off on Tuesdays (sometimes on Saturdays for family time and shopping when I am not travelling), for optimum productivity in the coming weekdays. Otherwise on rest of the days I am either working or travelling to places.
Before I go on to explain about work life balance, I want to state out my objectives for doing so.
Here are the main objectives:
- to rejuvenate my body from constant travels,
- to unplug and detach from routine work,
- to become more creative in my blogging,
- to rest and recover between the gym routines,
- to have more clarity about the path I’m journeying,
- releasing pent-up thoughts and emotions,
- detaching and letting go of the past
You may ask why Tuesdays?. Whenever we are back from bike trip on Sunday nights, or back on Monday mornings from a trip by bus / flight, Mondays are usually wasted. So, actual planning the week, organizing the work-life happens only on Tuesdays. Having tracked my productivity for the past 2 yrs, Tuesdays breaks have been productive for planning for the rest of the week.
So I just hit the office on Mondays even when I am tired from the weekend trip (to do pending tasks / read a book / check the emails), so I don’t waste the whole day doing nothing at home. So, on Tuesdays, there are lots of things to do when I am at home. Some needs brainstorming and some are physically demanding -both are helpful to keep my work life balanced.
These are the things I Do When I am At Home:
- Plan the Week: Since I kick started my mood to work on Monday itself, I can now easily focus on what needs to be done for the rest of the week. If you ask my hubby, he will tell you that I am always a planner. I can think clearly when I write down on paper (not fancy of any apps). So I take an exam pad with papers, start writing what should be done on the following week. This usually takes about 2 hrs, I get into all the details I need to do in both my personal and professional life. Writing trains my brain to focus on what is important to keep the work-life balanced. Once I am done, I will have a clear plan on
- How many articles I am going to write for this week
- How many topics needed to be researched for my website
- How many days working from office and from home. (I have a separate chart for tracking my coffee intake, ordered in any outside food, how much time I spent on phone calls, how many times I climbed up and down the stairs during breaks etc.,)
- The book I want to read for the week.
- Customized diet chart for individual days
- The grocery list for the week
- Gym Workout Plan for 3x a week, 1 day for Yoga
- Pending household things needed to be fixed / any gardening
- Decision on the events I need to attend
- The things to buy on Amazon and add them to the cart
- Weekend trip plan : Discuss with hubby the following evening.
2. Review the Last Week: Here comes the reality of what actually happened in my life in spite of all the planning and organizing. I take the help of my personal journal where I write down all the activity at the end of the day. Lets see how last week went –
- Writing: There has been improvement in number of articles. In the first 2 weeks of this month, I have published 1 article each week in this blog. Last week I have published 2 articles, so Kudos.
- Research and Learning: Done as per the plan on Long Tail Pro ( a tool I use for my research), watched youtube videos to help me learn things for my blogging and SEO. All went well.
- Work Schedule: I have worked for 3 days from Office, 2 days from Home. Total 5 days I have worked, published 2 articles and blog research. Kudos. (You can read my one month review here – July 2019)
- Book reading: None. I have decided on reading “The Six Pillars of Self- Esteem” by Nathaniel Branden. The entire month I could not even get started with the book. Daily read articles on “Medium” but that’s not just sufficient. If you are curious, last month I read “The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer”.
- Diet Plan and deviation: To my horror, I had outside food almost everyday for lunch. Eating outside on my travel days does not count, but deviating from my plan on my work days are not OK. This week, I am making sure I don’t eat even a single meal from outside and limiting coffee intake 2 cups in a day.
- Gym Workout: Only 1 day I had hit the gym in the entire week, Yoga not attended as planned. Combination of not doing workout and eating outside food everyday is definitely not healthy for my fitness. On the positive side, I have done 20 mins of floor workout on 2 days when I worked from home and those long walks from the last weekend trip can also be counted.
- Event attended: No professional events planned. Myself and Rajesh went to a Silk Saree exhibition – one page I follow in IG for authentic Kanchipuram silk sarees, happened at The Woody’s, Richmond road on Saturday. Then I went for shopping in Shivaji Nagar while he went for a client meeting.
- Things to be fixed at home – Replaced old water dispenser as planned
- Amazon Bucket list – Added the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Vickor E Frankl, to the shopping cart. This book was mentioned by many entrepreneurs and social media influencers, so I am going to give a read.
- Bucket list for Travel: Last week we traveled to Kanchipuram, stayed at Vellore. The journey was smooth and tireless, thanks to NH. In the coming weeks, planning to re-visit some of our all time favourite places; Kumbakonam, Tiruvannamalai and Tirukoilur, Tirunelveli and Papanasam. Need to check with Rajesh for his schedule, before I plan the journey.
This brainstorming activity is what keeps my work life balanced.
Note: Not always everything goes as planned. Sometimes we miss seeing places like this dubare elephant camp in coorg trip even after a good research, but we as a couple enjoy riding together, love each others company in the overall trip. Sightseeing and clicking pics are always secondary in our bike /road trips.
3. Unpacking Clothes, Sort the luggage and Do the Laundry – While I am planning and reviewing the week , laundry is getting done in the washing machine. Our travel bags wait until Tuesday to get unpacked, cleaned, and folded inside the cupboard until the next travel. Unpacking takes the same amount of time it takes for packing. Clothes need to be sorted for laundry; water bottles, toiletries and first aids need to be replaced; scarfs, earphones, chargers, coolers and specs need to kept in office bags, floaters need to placed on the balcony for balcony use; shoes need to be cleaned and polished for office use /gym use etc., It’s also a good workout I say.
4. Cook any of the favorite food – Being alone at home calls for favorite food to savor in front of TV. Then I order home fish from the nearby meat shop to prepare my all time favourite fish curry to go with the cooked rice. Fish curry or fry, or veg momos or Briyani – anything colourful and appetizing makes my day. Also, when I am eating a proper meal at noon, I don’t feel like junk eating anything for the rest of the day. Usually I make pakoras or light salad to go with the coffee on these day-offs.
5. Watch Amazon movies in the afternoon – Once I am done with planning and reviewing my week, I switch on the TV to watch some movies From Amazon. Once I watched “F.R.I.E.N.D.S” in Comedy Central HD for six straight hrs non-stop on Saturday, when my hubby was far away attending some conference. So unwinding in front of TV is the most favourite and relaxing afternoon activity I do on my day-offs.
6. Read a book – Reading is my favorite hobby right from childhood. I have a decent collection of books at home, keeping only my all time favourites after giving away loads to fictional books to acquaintances. Once I gave all my science book collections to the college library where I did my Under graduation. In this article, I have mentioned all the books names and links I read on self-development and productivity.
7. Gardening – This is another favourite activity I do on my day-off. I have a open garden with good sunlight, about 200 sq. feet in my home. Over the period we have kept many plants, but this first pic is very close to my heart. It has flowered for the first time in a long time. Today it blossomed and made my day.
8. Photography – I am interested in photography, have won 2 awards from the Pharma Company I have worked in Hyderabad. Rajesh too clicks some awesome pics, he has more patience than I am. We own SLR Canon camera and here in my blog you can find some of the best clicks we did. The above red rose and lillies were clicked by Rajesh.
9. Call a friend – My work and gym schedule doesn’t allow me to catch up with some of my friends in overseas due to time zone differences. This is the day I catch up with them in video calls or chat with them.
The last four activities I mentioned are the least priority things to do when I am on a day-off. After a heavy lunch, I sometimes doze off in front of TV, wake up only to watch TV again until the time hubby returns from office. Doing too many activities in a day-off will only stress the rest of the work, so I just go with the flow and the mood.
Sum – Up:
When I was in my early 20’s, I read a book called “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.
I never really understood the book at that age.
Now it is one of the all time bed-time book and early morning motivational book for more than 2 years.
Of all the 7 Habits the author mentioned in his book, the 7th Habit “Sharpen your saw” is more relevant to our topic now.
Here is what he says about four dimensions of the Self – renewal, quoting from his book,
” Habit 7 is personal PC. It’s preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have — you. It’s renewing the four dimensions of your nature — physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional.”
“This is the single most powerful investment we can ever make in life — investment in ourselves, in the only instrument we have with which to deal with life and to contribute. We are the instruments of our own performance, and to be effective, we need to recognize the importance of taking time regularly to sharpen the saw in all four ways. “
Even though I know deep inside my heart that what I want to become, writing them down on a paper every week gives me more clarity on the path i’m going. I get to know more about myself, about my strength and weaknesses, by regularly reviewing my work and personal life.
So every week day-off, sitting solitary with my note-pad –
I correct my mistakes,
I credit myself for the achievements,
I encourage myself to be more bold,
I plan and take that tiny step out of my comfort zone,
I like to push the boundary by holding hands with my future-self.
I love myself for what I have become.
What’s your favorite thing to do on day-offs? Share some insights for work life balance.