You know how sometimes an idea comes at you from several different directions at once? It happens to me sometimes, and I try to listen – often it’s something that’s in some way helpful to me.
This time it started with the post A Minimalist Sabbath, where author Shoshana Dietz describes how having a free day once a week has benefitted her. And then I read two different books, on different subjects, and both mentioned the Sabbath. The idea spoke to me, very much. This month my focus is minimalistic time-management – and what could be more minimalistic planning than no planning at all! Remember the feeling of school-holidays when you were a kid? That’s the feeling I’d like to have at least once a week.
But ironically enough liberating a full day from my planning requires some planning… First comes the task of deciding on which day to choose. Since Saturdays currently are the only day when I have no scheduled appointements at all, that seemed to be a good day. Shoshana Dietz recommends easing in to the practice one habit at a time – which I’m sure is a good approach for a lot of people. Me, I prefer to dive in completely and then backpedal as necessary.
One of the books I read said that this should be a day not to work, not to change anything (not even about yourself) but instead be thankful for all the things that are already good – in your life and in the world. There are always things to be thankful about, but we often take them for granted. The author (Liv Larson) also proposed that the important thing isn’t exactly what you do – but why. If you paint a picture because it gives you joy and helps you appreciate the beauty in the world, fine. But if you feel a pressure to finish or do it to improve your technique – leave it for another day. This day of rest should be set aside to enjoy the world as it already is. This also sounds like good guidelines to me.
So what gives me that school-holiday-feeling? Well, no alarm-clock would be a great start! Not having to look at the clock at all in the day, even better. No planning, or evaluating. Not doing houshold chores, not shopping (even for food). Maybe cooking or baking though – if I feel like it. I often like cooking when I’m not pressed for time, it doesn’t feel like a chore then but a creative activity. (But I’ll be sure to have something in the freezer in case neither I nor Mr L feel like cooking.) Contacts with people, absolutely – but only in real life, not over the internet. Possibly over the phone, for the friends that don’t live nearby. Time to reflect. Time to read – but only fiction (no trying to improve my knowledge). Spending time outdoors, maybe taking a walk – if the weather is pleasant, otherwise I’m doing it for excercise and that’s an obligation and a way to try to change something, again. No TV or movies (we’ve gotten into the habit of having movie-night on Fridays, I don’t need another). Music, photography, writing – absolutely (but not for the blog; I love writing for this blog, but since I post twice a week that’s a comittment). Quite simply: be sure to do things that bring me joy.
I do believe that slowing down once a week is good for me. In the summer, when we go to our cottage by the lake on most weekends, I do relax a lot more then I do on winter-weekends at home. Maybe because there is a lot more nature and less technology there at the lake… I’ll clear out my schedule for Saturdays from now on – or rather, since these coming Saturdays are Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, from January on. I’ll let you know after some time how it works out.