I find an important part of my working week is the chance to recharge the batteries and take stock of what I have accomplished in the week just gone. Yesterday evening as the sun was setting and I was trying to remove the last of the wax from my car, I realised that my best downtime is when I am busy but doing something mundane.
As a petrol head I actually take a ridiculous amount of pleasure from cleaning cars, to such an extent that every neighbor in my village thinks it is hilarious to walk by and say “you’ll wash it away” or “hold on a minute and I’ll get mine”! Apart from the irritating comments I really look forward to the opportunity to clean my car and relax. It reminds me of the ‘80s film, The Karate Kid, where Mr Miyagi taught his young apprentice, Daniel, the need to control his mind by cleaning his car (hence the wax on, wax off analogy). It works for me and I feel invigorated after doing it and I have a nice clean car as a bonus.
But I suspect this is the same pleasure people get from doing the gardening or taking some exercise, however I’m not fit enough to think and run at the same time. Key thing though is to have nothing digital on you (such as blackberry) so there are no interruptions and make sure no thinking is involved in what you are doing. So reading the paper or a book is a no no as that is not the same and while you may relax doesn’t give you the time to get your thoughts in order (I would also put listening to music in this category).
It might seem obvious but in the digital age it is important to do something simple to recharge for the week ahead.