You know how there are some things that we know we should be doing, but don’t actually do? For me, one of those things is taking time off. I talk a lot about balance and getting rest, taking time off, recharging, blah, blah, blah… But I don’t actually do it very well. The truth of this was driven home to me last week. I was filling out my PTO (Paid Time Off) form for my week off this week. I have a spreadsheet that tracks how much time I have left and how much I’ve used. In the last 12 months, I’ve taken 7 PTO days off. I get 24 a year and since I’m now starting year two, I currently have 41 PTO days in my bank.
At first, that sounds great. But consider the fact that I’ve only taken 7 off in 12 months. At that rate, It would take almost 6 years to use the days I have if I didn’t get any more. And that’s kind of a problem.
I started off the previous 12 months pretty well. Then right after Christmas everything went haywire. By February, my staff went from 2 to 0. It took until mid-August to completely fix that. We started a massive 12-week lighting upgrade project. We swapped out almost all of audio. Several of my primary go-to contractors left. To a certain extent, it was a perfect storm. Add in VBS, a Night of Worship and a few other big events and you get what I got. No rest.
Now, it’s easy to look back and see the failings of the past 12 months. It’s harder to develop a plan to fix it. I’ve been reading a book called Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. One thing they advocate when trying to enact change is what they call “Shape the Path.” That is, leading people down a path that ends at the result you want. So, one of the things I’ll be doing this week is looking at my calendar and blocking out some weeks and weekends that I’m going to take off. Having them on a calendar makes them real for me, and I will do what needs to be done to make it happen. I don’t like to miss deadlines, so I have to make time off a deadline.
I also need to do the same thing with my new ATD. I need to make sure he doesn’t get to the end of his 12 months and find he’s only taken 7 days off. That won’t be good for either of us.
This week, I’m taking time to sleep, catch up on some reading, watching a few movies and concerts and more sleep. I may also do some writing as I find that life-giving. If you don’t see much from me on here this week, you’ll now know that sleep took over the week.
What about you? Do you take enough time off during the year? If not, why not? If so, how do you make it a priority?
And check out the book I mentioned, it’s really quite good.