On Having Time Off

After a busy couple of months consisting of a lot of travel its been nice to have some time off this weekend. I don’t just mean off from work though. I had no plans going into this long weekend for the first time in month. It got me thinking a lot about the lack of unplanned time in my life.
Earlier this year I read an article on The Art of Manliness about setting aside a “reset day” to spend on things we normally put off.
A weekday reset day gives you eight dedicated, distraction-free hours, by yourself, to set your physical and metaphorical house in order — to recalibrate everything that’s gone awry.
Instead of constantly putting out one fire, while another rages, you give yourself a chance to extinguish all the hot spots. You give yourself an entirely fresh start, a clean slate upon which to begin your efforts anew; it completely clears your mind of all the cobwebs formed by unfinished to-dos, burdensome distractions, and nagging questions.
I really liked this idea. I’ve had a lot of little projects and nagging impulses in the back of my head lately. Rather than fill my long weekend with a bunch of pre-determined activities I decided to take on a modified version of the “reset day.” Instead of one day I took an extended reset weekend and loosely focused on different maintenance areas each day.

Day One: The Physical

I started off the weekend working on a lot of the obvious physical stuff that needed to get done. I cleaned my whole apartment. I put in a bunch of maintenance requests I was putting off. I worked out. I cleaned out the fridge, then went to the grocery store and did some meal prep.
All of these tasks are usual weekend chores, but I went much more in depth with them since I had the extra time. Putting in the extra effort to do things thoroughly felt really good and it’ll keep me from having to follow up on some of these things in the next couple of weeks.

Day Two: The Social

I spent Sunday on more social matters. I caught up with some friends via iMessage and Facebook in the early part of the day. Then I went to a local arts festival to get a change of scenery and delicious street food. On the way home I called my parents and chatted with my aunt.
In the evening I went out for drinks with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a month or two. Over some excellent beer we caught up about our recent travels, professional developments and old classmates. We made plans to get together again when a mutual friend from college visits Atlanta next month.

Day Three: The Mental

Today was spent mostly closing mental loops that I’d been running for a while. This meant fun things like reading the end of a book and finally getting caught up on the latest season of a tv show. These may not seem productive, but they were on my long list so I just figured I’d just knock them out.
It also meant taking some time to do some open ended thinking and journaling. At the end of any busy season I always wish I’d been more proactive about writing and reflecting when things were happening. Today I didn’t let myself get bogged down in that. Instead, I just filled the page which is also why this post is longer than it probably ought to be.
Finally, I tried not to fill every second of the day with a screen or a sound. When I was watching, listening or reading I tried to focus in on the text at hand. I left my phone on the counter rather than having it in my lap while watching tv. I refrained from Twitter as best as I could. And I avoided headphones at all costs.
I’ve been thinking about my distracted state a lot since reading a short piece on boredom on kottke.org. Leaning into my under-stimulated moments today made for a kind of calm day that I haven’t had in a long while.

It has been really relieving to cross a bunch of things off of my list and reset some elements of my life this weekend. I hope everyone else had a solid Memorial Day.