Blogger: Wendy Lawton
A couple years ago, our colleague, Rachelle Gardner, sent us a fascinating article by Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries in the Harvard Business Review. It has become a favorite. In it he makes the case for kicking back. He says, “. . .slacking off — making a conscious effort not to be busy — may be the best thing we can do for our brain’s health. It is the incubator for future bursts of creativity.”
I believe in slacking off. It’s been on my to-do list for several years. In fact, for more than one year it has been one of my goals. I wrote, “Take ample time to dream and plan. This may be the most valuable thing I do. Otherwise I’m just shuffling papers and knocking out tasks.”
My spiritual goals reflected seeking that “white space” as well. Here’s what I wrote:
- Explore deeper prayer adventures
- Continue to spend time with God each morning.
- Continue to maintain Prayer Journal
- Continue to work on Life Plan (longings, goals)
- Map out one “Day in the Desert” for reflection/ creativity every quarter.
I have to admit that busyness and travel scuttled my Days in the Desert this year, but this item will be back on my list for 2017. It is vitally important. If we don’t create space to imagine and to dream we will dry out. Our work product and our relationships will dry up as well. Take a break from busyness.
As our Books & Such offices officially close for our Christmas break each one of us is committed to intentionally slacking off. Truth be told, we still work many days, doing those jobs for which we can never find time, but we recognize we need to turn off the computer, put down the phone and enjoy some electronic silence for a change. I’ve heard that when many families gather they now pass a basket for everyone to drop in their cell phones. Take a break from outside “noise.” What a great idea!
There are several things on which I will not stint over the holidays. I’ll take time to sit alone in a room lit only by the twinkling lights of the Christmas trees. As I prepare several different festive meals for family and friends, I plan to lavish time on the food, the table and the guests. I will actively enjoy each minute with people. I’ll set aside time to read. My daughter and I will have another of our annual all-night Jane Austen movie marathons. My husband and I will celebrate our anniversary. I’ll also celebrate my birthday. I’ll spend time at church including our most beautiful service of the year– The Candlelight Christmas service held from 11:00 to midnight Christmas Eve.
How about you? Will you be able to carve out any time to dream over the holidays? To recharge? How will you take a break? And on the other hand, what will you embrace this Christmas?