Unscheduled time off

I took an unscheduled week off.

Not a vacation per se, but a week AFK. Away from the keyboard.

I didn't answer emails. Not even the ones that would normally prompt me to reply right away. Not even the ones that had a clear question for me.

I didn't create my usual weekly log. I didn't post on Twitter. I didn't engage in my usual other communication channels. I didn't try to form new relationships. I didn't grow existing relationships.

I let tasks accumulate with "overdue" labels in my to-do app.

I ignored the self-imposed routines and duties such as journaling and reading—even the ones I enjoy doing.

I kept communications with friends to a bare minimum. If a friend reached out, I replied but only initiated a few conversations. 

Instead, I played with the kids and fixed some stuff around the house. I also washed the car twice this week.

I was expecting anxiety to show up after a few days. It's common for me to feel bad when I stay away from work for more than 2 or 3 days, especially when I have some unresolved issues. But this anxiety never came. I didn't feel guilty either, a feeling I'm all too familiar with when I stop working.

My original plan for this week was to slow down and do active thinking. The kind you do by typing stuff on the keyboard or, if you're a romantic, with a pencil and a notepad.

But I didn't do any active thinking.

Instead, I did passive, background task thinking. 

This type of thinking is unguided and unprompted, and because of that, it can seem a bit pointless. But it isn't pointless; it allows you to distance yourself enough from your work to look at it more objectively.

This time, I won't rush back to work. Instead, I will go into active thinking mode and build upon the foundations laid out this week.

P.S. Though I have been self-employed for a long time, it was one of the first times (if not the first?) that I allowed myself to take a full, unscheduled week off. It was amazing. It's an undervalued perk of my line of business, and I intend to repeat this experience.