Sam Mednick is a professional life and executive coach based in Barcelona (www.blueprintcoaching.ca). A Canadian native, she’s been living in the city for eight years working with companies as well as individuals focusing on transitions, communication, leadership training, time management and productivity, as well as emotional intelligence development. For more coaching tips, tune into her Podcast.
SAM SAYS: IT'S OKAY TO RELAX
As August rolls around and my office in Barcelona embraces its mandatory two-week
vacation, I’m having a bit of an issue: I don’t know what to do with my free time. I’m sure
there are people reading this who only wish they had my ‘problem’—the thing is that it’s not possible to go on a two-week trip with my budget, so I’m having a ‘staycation’ and I’m
afraid of being bored. I’m not used to Barcelona’s August shutdown yet and don’t want to spend the whole month lying on the couch, going to the beach and waking up after one too many cañas. Do you have any advice as to how I can make the most of my time?
Thanks so much,
Reluctant Couch Potato
Hi Reluctant Couch Potato,
Only in Barcelona could you have such a ‘problem’. However, I’m loving it! Not only because, as you said, this is perhaps an issue that others dream of having, but I like the fact that you’re thinking about it. Making the most of your me is obviously important to you and it’s commendable that you’re consciously deciding how to utilise this downtime.
Before we get into how to maximise these two weeks, I’m going to turn the tables and challenge you to decide to purely enjoy this me off. As much as I don’t always understand how things work here, one thing that Barcelona (and the rest of Spain) does quite well is relaxation time. Coming from Canada, it’s still hard to understand how an entire country can ‘close’ for a month, but there is certainly something positive about how people here value this opportunity to disconnect. It would benefit many of us to embrace this a little more, as there is a heightened awareness and an objectivity that often emerges in this space.
So, my first suggestion would be to embrace the ‘staycation’ for what it is— me for you to unwind. It’s harder than you think, not to feel like you have to be somewhere or meet deadlines and wake up at a certain time, but take your watch off for the day, put your phone away and just ‘be’.
Now that you’ve embraced this and are genuinely enjoying it (or at least trying), let’s look at what you can do to make the most of your two weeks.
1. Clearly define what ‘making the most of your time’ means to you. In order to maximise your days, you have to understand what that looks like. Is it reading five books? Learning a new skill? Taking a course? Finding a new job? Once you have defined that, you’ll be better equipped to direct and channel your energy.
2. Make a list of things you would like to do but never have time for. Down time is great for doing things of low priority. If you already have a few things in mind, narrow it down to one or two realistic activities or feats you’d like to conquer.
3. Schedule your time. Two weeks might seem like a lot, but it’ll fly by and if you don’t carve out specific me slots for things, it’ll be over before you know it and leave you wondering what you just did for 14 days. Set aside a few days to tackle the items on your list and schedule the hours that you’ll need to work on them.
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