This year has filled me with the overwhelming inclination that I need to allow myself to enjoy personal time. Now, this can be hard for many people, and very difficult for me in particular.
I worked full time all throughout college and graduated in three years.
Yeah… I don’t really know how to slow down.
On my graduation day, I sat on my couch watching a live-streamed ceremony with my best friend and close family and realized that the past three years of my life flew by in an instant and I couldn’t remember more than two times that I intentionally took time for myself.
Having this realization right when I decided to start a career as a freelancer and had just onboarded four new clients wasn’t exactly convenient. I couldn’t take time off after I had only been working with new clients for one week.
Breaking the News
“Hey boss, I had a great first week! Oh, by the way, I’m going away for two weeks. Surprise! Talk to you later”.
Yeah, that doesn’t exactly set the best precedent. I needed to find a way to work while on vacation and enjoy my bleisure trip.
I informed my clients that I would be in Hawaii for a week but I would still be reachable, able to work and attend meetings. I wanted to emphasize that aside from my location, nothing needed to change. Fortunately for me, I have the best clients and they only asked me to attend a few meetings instead of daily stand-ups which really allowed me to slow down and enjoy my mornings.
Another way I slowed down and took time for myself while still convincing my bosses that I was a professional was doing my work on the beach. Instead of locking myself in my hotel room, I would take my time working seaside. Something about the warm air and the sounds of crashing waves made me feel incredibly relaxed. (Who would’ve thought?) I didn’t even feel like I was working and my creative juices flowed!
I also learned the importance of boundaries. As someone who is a bit of a speed demon when it comes to working, I have a hard time telling myself that I don’t need to complete that project immediately. The deadline isn’t for five more days! I set my Slack to “Do not Disturb” and didn’t check my emails every five seconds. These boundaries we’re a wonderful way to work while not working.
Overall, my first ever bleisure trip showed me that you can still be a go-getter while taking time for yourself. It’s all about moderation. Here are my five favorite lessons learned.
- Take time for YOU
- Learn to say no
- Set boundaries
- Find a way to work that doesn’t feel like “working”
- Prioritize communication