Maintenance Day by Beverly Delidow
OK – I heard that! For all you grumblers out there groaning, who think I’m talking about the chores your spouse, your children, or your parents point to and try to put on your list – No no no! That’s not where we’re going. I mean YOU maintenance, health maintenance, thought maintenance, sanity maintenance. The things YOU want/need to get done.
This came to me after spending ten straight 12-hour days working on various aspects of work, running from deadline to deadline, task to task, commitment to commitment, until I was about ready for commitment. The house was a mess, I had laundry piled up out of the hamper, a kitchen sink that had been stopped up for a week, and a large doghouse in boxes in my garage that I could barely drive around. I simply had not had the time to – literally – get my house, or the dog’s, in order. It was TIME. I took a day off to do the things I needed to and chase some of the crazy out of my life.
Here are some perfectly legitimate reasons to take a day for “You” maintenance:
- MOOD Maintenance. Oh yeah. Big one. Have you ever had one of those days when you were SO grouchy at work you actually kicked a door? It was better than kicking a colleague, but not exactly the attitude you want to project at work. When the level of stress and anger reaches a point where you feel like explosions might be a welcome distraction – STOP. Put down the stapler. And quietly gather your things. Time for some personal down-time to defuse all that stress. One day when you don’t have to wear anything but sweats, you don’t have to talk to anyone who “wants that now”, and the biggest decisions you have to make is “Oprah” or “Ellen”. It’s lovely. And after a day spent just giving your head some headspace, you can go back refreshed.
- SLEEP Maintenance. The second big one. If you know that the reason you’re wound up tighter than Satan’s watch is that you haven’t had a real full night’s sleep in a full month – it’s time for that related holiday: Pajama Day. You have only one task: SLEEP. As much, whenever, and wherever you want to. Sleep late, eat well, try not to over-do the caffeinated drinks. Fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the day – enjoy waking up in your own time, without stress, without some clock screaming at you. Wear bed-hair as a badge of accomplishment – you actually contacted a pillow long enough to earn it. Celebrate with a nice nap. And promise yourself not to get so far behind on essential rest in the future.
- Clothes-Shopping Maintenance – for when you haven’t shopped for clothing in so long your socks can be carbon dated and a member of your household (you/the kid/the spouse/the pet) just did irreparable damage to one of the only remaining pairs of work-appropriate trousers that fit. Time to select an affordable budget and hit the stores for some professional fashion advice. Your work wardrobe is part of your professional persona after all, and it deserves attention, too. (And, yowza! You look good in that, girl!)
- Thinking Maintenance – for when you have some thinking you really need to do and you can’t seem to get the time or space for it. This is important. If you have something on your mind you need to deal with, do it. Get a notebook, or a journal, or a recorder and give yourself permission to think it through, write it out, record all your imaginings, create a path. Life happens – that doesn’t mean it has to all happen without some planning or forethought. The feeling that you have something important that hasn’t been addressed can be very stressful. Give yourself the time you need to work on it.
- Friendship Maintenance. You have a friend you would love to spend time with and you both have crammed schedules. MAKE the time. Spend the time. An hour spent with a friend is worth any ten-twenty-hundred spent staring blankly at a pile of work. Be amazed by this wonderful person who is amazed by you.Some of the reasons to take a Maintenance Day are about things you want to do in your world, but you need some dedicated time:
- You’ve had a new _____ for three weeks and it isn’t even out of the box yet. Especially if this was something for your personal use – a computer, a treadmill, sewing machine, professional mixer. Go ahead. Take the time, make a space and PLAY with that puppy! Especially if it IS a puppy.
- You have gotten so far behind on household paperwork, like bills, taxes, letters that it is starting to become a huge looming problem. Take the time to deal with it – it will be done and it will be worth it. Have a nice cup of something warm while you do. It’s not just doing the task; it’s creating the mental space of having it done.
- You have something you need to change in your home, finances, or legal issues. It is very reasonable to take a day to meet with professionals you hire to help you with things you cannot do for yourself. Take the time – those things should not be rushed. Plan to spend as long as you need with a financial advisor, or with legal counsel or an insurance agent, or a home contractor. These folks are professionals who can help you do some terrific things. Go ahead and spend the time to find out all you need to so you can invest your resources wisely.
- The weather has been awful for weeks, there’s finally a break and you REALLY need to do ______. For me, this is mowing the lawn. My yard is big and hilly and can’t be mowed when it’s wet. I have to take advantage of dry days when it’s not sizzling hot. You can’t mess with Father Time or Mother Nature – there are only twenty-four hours in a day and the weather does not come made-to-order. If you have needed to get into your garden for much-needed maintenance and the forecast shows that today is the only decent day for the next ten – well, then – TODAY it is. That old saying about making hay while the sun shines is no joke. If you like to have a nice garden, getting out there in good weather surely beats getting drenched, or freezing your fingers off, or passing out from heat exhaustion. Take advantage of the good weather while you can before whatever you’re working on gets really bad. (That lawn? I’ve been offered goats… )(The alternative to this – hire the neighbor kid to do the yard work and you get to “supervise”. This has some serious advantages, too.)
- Reader’s choice – I’m sure you have a favorite thing you’d like to have a day for, some secret pleasure, a fond wish. You’d like to see a movie with grown-ups, or read a book in a quiet place, or spend a day volunteering for your local animal shelter. You want to organize family photos, create a gift for someone special, make a recipe you’ve been wanting to try. You want to try a yoga class and it’s only offered at a time when you’re at work. Take a day, give it a try, and expand your world to include more of what you love.
So here’s to Maintenance Day – Any day you choose. Pick a day. Tell the boss. Tell the kids. Tell your spouse or partner. And make YOUR day. Here’s to your health, sanity, peace, YOU!
© Beverly Delidow | email@example.com
Beverly Delidow is a professor, writer, and photographer in West Virginia. She has published articles, fiction, poetry, and photographs in a number of forms.
And if you liked these tips you may be interested in the Get a Plan! Guide® to Ridding Your Workspace of Clutter part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series designed to give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion.