Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

The Shed

The other weekend I was tearing down the shed in our backyard and realized along with the sweat, sore muscles and tender hands gained, I was also learning a few lessons along the way. As part of my Freedom Friday series, this is what I’ve learned.

The Shed
The Shed

Tearing down a shed sounds like an easy task to accomplish. The instructions couldn’t be simpler:

1) Take hammer
2) Pull hammer back
3) Apply great force to hammer
4) Hit surface of shed where applicable
5) Repeat 1-5 until shed fully broken into pieces.

Simple. Right? Not so much.

First, the shed’s composition consisted entirely of wood, reinforced with four-inch planks, fastened together by two-inch nails that in case of a meteor assault the roof would not cave in. Second, I needed more than a hammer to take the beast down. I needed a Bobcat utility vehicle. Since I didn’t have one of those I settle on a three-foot crowbar complete with a hook that would withstand a massive beating from my hands. Last, this was not a weekend activity. I ended up taking half of it down on the weekend, leaving the rest for the week ahead.

As I was working, my brain wandered on silly things. The shed I once admired for many years had fallen apart. It deserved a final resting place before replacing it with a newer and shinier version. Similarly, there are things in my life I’ve had to remove in order to push forward. That meant replacing the bad with the good. Habits are like that. I wrote about toxic perfectionism a year ago. I had to tear apart my inner being as a means to throw away that which was causing me the greatest stress. Eventually, that old part is now gone, tossed in the dumpster. And like the shed, where I can still see bits and pieces of it littering the spot where it once stood majestically, the old self, the one wanting things in a perfect, organized box, appears every so often to remind me of the way I had once viewed life—through the doors of a rotting shed.

The remains of the shed
The remains of the shed

I also learned that with much banging of a crowbar on an immovable object, the energy I had expended needed replenishing. Drinking water. Sitting in the shade. Wiping the sweat from my brow. They all contributed to that replenishment. Again, as it is in life, I’ve had to take time away from the day-to-day grind in order to replenish my soul. Every Saturday, I disappear from Social Media and spend time with the family doing real things such as enjoying a special meal together or visiting with family and friends. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, this web site can all wait until I return online on Sunday. Saturday is mine to rest and do what I want. If I didn’t do that, then like tearing apart the shed, not taking a water break or rest in the shade, I’d collapse with a guaranteed stroke. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d like to think I have a lot more to accomplish than make my final resting place six feet under way before my time.

My final lesson I had learned that weekend is to be patient and never give up. No matter what. Slugging the crap out of a shed wall took every ounce of energy I could muster. At times, I wanted to toss the crowbar and forget about the whole thing. I stuck to it. Every hit was one hit closer to success. Every drop of sweat was one more fraction of determination spent. I would not let failure overcome my ambition to slay the beast and win the battle.

The shed died a slow death, but I learned so much from the experience. I’m sure once I raise the new shed I will also have learned something interesting about life I never knew before.

Isn’t life an amazing thing?

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Have you had something you were doing from which you learned a lesson? What is it about life you find the most fascinating of all?

Posted in Freedom Friday

A Day Off

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about sleep and how it boosts productivity. For this week’s Freedom Friday, I would like to share another productivity booster some folks can’t imagine trying, even if their lives depended on it. Are you ready? It’s called a day off. Yeah, scary, isn’t it?

Plugged In
Plugged In

In some circles, the day off is an outdated relic that belongs on the trash heap. It gets in the way, wastes time, and is nothing more than a distraction.

I wish I had a penny for all the times I hear how we can become better at what we’re doing if we dedicate more time to what we’re doing. I’m here to tell you different. I’m here to say it’s okay to take a break. Everything will be there when you get back.

How does it work at our house?

Well, every Saturday I unplug from the internet to spend time with the family. This means you won’t find me posting or commenting on mine or anyone else’s blog. You won’t see me on Facebook or Twitter. And my email collects dust until Sunday morning. Saturdays is when I treat my family to a special meal, watch a couple of movies, visit friends and relatives, and typically relax doing nothing other than stare out the window, daydreaming. That last part happens more often than you think.

The Day Off
The Day Off

It’s a day we do what we don’t have enough time to do during the week. And I don’t mean chores.

So let’s go back to the productivity thing. How productive, really, is taking a day off every week? This question harkens back to my sleep post where I talk about time management experts encouraging folks to shorten their sleep cycles in order to gain a half-hour extra on their day to do things. I think I manage a convincing argument establishing the fallacy of that sort of thinking. That half-hour is not extra time to use for other things. That half-hour is for sleep.

Similarly, and speaking from my own standpoint, taking a day off enhances creativity and boosts energy levels. On a personal level, I mentally disconnect from life so I can replenish my reserves. By the time Sunday comes, I’m all set to tackle the week with new ideas and a healthy perspective.

There was a time I didn’t do that, and I used to have days run into each other like a continuous merry-go-round. Thankfully, that’s over. In all honesty, without wanting to sound pretentious, I find taking time off once a week to unplug from the internet and spend it with the family aids in a more balanced lifestyle.

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Do you take a day off to unplug every week? If not, have you thought about it?