Thursday, June 16, 2011

Slacker

I took a brain vacation yesterday. I couldn't make the thing work anyway, so I didn't have much choice.

Usually I work at my desk. I write stuff, move paper around, organize things and generally make myself look important to myself. But yesterday I could not figure out which paper went into which pile.

Coffee was no help. That brain would not apply itself to the meaningless crap I had to prioritize. So I left everything and went outside.

I repotted a plant. I swept the back porch. I chopped up the rosemary that's been taking over the back yard. (Hey! There's a passage around the side of the garage. I'd forgotten.)

At my desk once again, I moved a piece of paper. It didn't seem to be in the right pile.

So I went out for a cup of coffee. I took a note pad. I wrote things on it while I drank my coffee. It was the most work I got done all day.

It felt strange not to be my usual productive self. As most freelancers will tell you, when you work for yourself you work seven days a week, much more than 9 to 5. A day off is an anomaly. But I guess I needed it. It's a good thing my boss wasn't paying attention.

21 comments:

Jimmy said...

Very good picture, madam! I would like to see it in colour too, if possible! Thank you so much for sharing.

___
International call

dive said...

We all need a break from time to time, Petrea. If even coffee doesn't help then you know you've been working too hard.
I hope your day off left you relaxed and refreshed.

Tracy Wood said...

Some of my most creative work comes when I least expect it - like when I am taking a 'day off.' Gotta let the mind and body rest and rejuvenate, right? Nice photo, very peaceful....

Shell Sherree said...

Well, you might not have moved the pieces of paper as you'd hoped, but it sounds like a lovely productive day in other ways. Maybe your inner boss thought you needed a break from the usual.

Book Dragon said...

hey, you did yard work! that reminds me...I've got to water the lettuce ;)


love the pic

Steven said...

The human body and brain is not a always a fine tuned machine. Someday soon you will get twice as much done as a usual day. It all evens out in the end.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, all. I may need another day--yesterday to turn the brain off and today to enjoy it. We shall see.

Welcome, Jimmy. If I get more time this afternoon I'll put up the color version. There's not much difference, which gave me the idea to do B&W. The fence is black and the trees are a very dark green.

Bellis said...

Maybe your boss wasn't watching, but I bet your Boz was. Did he look puzzled?

You deserve more than just one day off. Employees get several weeks' annual leave (as much as 5 weeks in Europe)and can lie on a beach and read to their heart's content. Freelancers and self-employed don't have that sort of luxury.

Speedway said...

I was advised early on that the self-employed need to schedule time off, vacations, etc. In other words structure the work as if you were your employee. You are! This helps to avoid burn-out of both physical and emotional kind.

That said, I find myself reading, taking notes, writing at 3-4 AM. Argh! This for a woman who's used to getting up at 6 to go to regular job. I lie in bed weaving my story, looking up references to support my "thread."

You need the day off, Petrea, for whatever reason. It will balance in the end with even better work.

Trish said...

every so often I take a day off too. On average, I'm "on" 100+ hours a week, I grab zen moments now and then cuz my "boss" is a stickler for getting stuff done ;-). I've found that scheduling time off is good, but sometimes, things get in the way of that---the phone rings, a crisis happens, that's the life of someone working more than 9-5. So I grab what I can---a 42 minute nap yesterday afternoon, a 10 minute break to begin to read a book an old high school friend sent to me 2 weeks ago that I haven't started yet.

I have to admit, I'd love to have time to put my hands in the dirt now and again. Paperwork is overrated anyway.

happy mental health day Petrea!

wv: pessesshh...I was going to get to work but something pessesshh'd me to jus....zzzzzz

altadenahiker said...

You think it's the weather? My spirits are dampened.

Petrea Burchard said...

Maybe, Hiker. I have been down in the dumps. Whatever it is, it prompted a beautiful essay out of you. (Go read her Father's Day post, folks.)

Speedway, Bellis, Trish, I think you all are right. I need some time off. I had paying work today and more tomorrow, so it'll have to come later. I'll work something out.

I appreciate all your suggestions. And I'm not forgetting how fortunate I am that I can schedule such a thing as a break.

Susan Campisi said...

I consider repotting a plant a highly productive endeavor, one that's been on my to-do list for weeks. Hope your spirits lift soon. You too, Hiker.

Ms M said...

Every one of us needs a break from the usual from time to time. Glad you took one! Lovely photo, too. Is it the top of a gate? I like seeing the children at play.

Petrea Burchard said...

Susan, you're right, and I felt good about the repotting. Poor thing really needed it.

Ms. M, the photo is of the top of a fence that surrounds a playground area at Washington Park on Washington Blvd. at El Molino in Pasadena.

J.J. in L.A. said...

Taking a 'Me' day occasionally is good for the psyche...at least that's what I tell people when they ask "What are you doing?"

Petrea Burchard said...

J.J., your psyche must be in awesome shape.

Margaret said...

I think you should have been very hard on yourself. I think you, as your boss, should remind you what a privilege it is to work for you and that lollygagging will not be tolerated. You really have to keep an eye on you.

Petrea Burchard said...

As always, Margaret, you are right about everything. I cracked the whip today. That works on some people some days, and not on some other days.

Dina said...

The folks in Arkansas tried to teach me to remember that each of us is a human being and not a human doing.

Petrea Burchard said...

Oh, I like that. I've know people who were human do-nothings and human to-dos, too.