Each week, I deliver anywhere from 1 – 3 large group training sessions, most of which involve a reasonable amount of preparation, air travel, exhaustion, fun, and adrenaline. After all that expended energy, what USED TO happen to me following every workshop was what I called “the letdown haze.” Contrary to popular opinion, I do not like to have every moment scheduled (though recently in a workshop, a participant asked me if I actually had any friends. Snort.)
I digress. In the haze, I would do any combination of the following – check all of the email that came in via my Smartphone, stare out the window, wander up and down the airport corridors figuring out what I wanted to eat, scan my favorite blogs via my Feed.ly blog reader, sort of read my book, and then check my email again.
It was THE PITS. I wasn’t really relaxing, but I wasn’t getting anything done either. The haze is what author/reporter Brigid Schulte calls “contaminated time.” And when it faded, I was neither relaxed nor rejuvenated. In fact, I usually wanted to crawl into bed.
After seven years of doing this, you would THINK I would learn, right?!?
But this pocket of post-workshop time was awkward. I was often in transit, unable to get to all of my materials, usually dehydrated and starving, highly distractible—and dying to put on a pair of leggings. When I could no longer bear to waste any more of those hours, I finally got my act together to ENJOY that post-workshop time. Goodbye, haze; hello, loose moments!
More specifically, I planned a menu of materials I needed on hand for a successful workshop letdown:
- PEOPLE Magazine procured
- Issue of the New Yorker toted from home
- Chocolate obtained (and carrot sticks, too, for good measure)
- Kindle fully charged with new Alice Hoffman book
- An idea of three friends I wanted to call
- Water bottle filled
- Comfortable clothes packed at top of suitcase and ready for a quick change
And then I simply sat down and relaxed by doing whatever I felt like from that list. I enjoyed a 25-minute phone conversation with my best friend, changed into comfortable clothes, read my magazines, and listened to Taylor Swift’s new album (don’t judge).
Here’s the proof: me in all my relaxed glory at Hobby Airport in Houston, TX. And yes, I asked some nice gentleman to take my picture.
And after those two hours, I was ready to crank on some work again. . . like this blog post, and my inbox, and some preschool applications for my son (who turns two in a few weeks!).
So, what about you? Are there times you need to plan for downtime? How do you avoid the haze?