On Friday night, I was reading about what my friends were up to on Facebook when I came across an article that a former co-worker shared. The article written by Ben Tinker and posted on CNN.com entitled The Importance of a ‘Stop Day’ is an interview with physician and author Dr. Matthew Sleeth who has written a book entitled “24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life.” In his book, Dr. Sleeth discusses the importance of having a day that is devoted to doing something other than work. This can be a day spent doing something that you enjoy whether that’s reading a book or simply spending time with your family. The important thing is that this day is a day of rest. Dr. Sleeth and his family adopted a “stop day” over a decade ago and his children have carried on this tradition in their lives too.
Dr. Sleeth notes that in today’s ultra-competitive world of business, many of us find ourselves in positions where we are on call 24 hrs/day, 7 days/week, or we are expected to do work from home to be able to meet performance goals and move up in an organization. This type of lifestyle has created a generation of workers that constantly deal with a high level of stress, and ultimately their health suffers. Dr. Sleeth believes that by setting aside one day to “stop,” it forces people to make better use of their time during the other six days of that week – essentially Time Management 101. It can create a healthier lifestyle for that person too.
After I read this article, I started to think about how I could try to make this happen for myself and my family. How could I make myself stop long enough to recharge the batteries and spend more quality time with my wife and children? I began to realize that I needed to make a plan, but before I could even get started, I fell asleep in my chair. It had been a long week.
On Saturday evening, while the kids were watching a Disney show, I started to read the next chapter in our text that we are studying in Sunday school. My first thought when I started to make my way through the chapter was that someone was trying to tell me something. Our class has been working through a book written by Chip Ingram entitled “From Good to Great in God’s Eyes.” This book has been tough for our class to read and discuss as it has required us to share more about ourselves and our beliefs. This week the chapter challenged the reader to “make great moments.” A great moment according to Ingram is not defined by something written in the Bible or something that you are told is supposed to be a great moment. The great moment is defined by you and made by you. Ingram is a successful minister, leader, and author who has worked diligently to spread the good news to people all over the world, but at some point in his life, he decided that he had sacrificed too much and had missed out on some important things in his life. So, he decided to make some changes. At the end of the chapter, Ingram discusses the importance of slowing down and sitting down and enjoying all of things that you have in your life – especially your family and everything around you.
Ingram’s message really resonated with me, and I started again to think about how do I get to that “stop day.” As a leader, I have a hard time shutting down. When I’m awake, there’s a pretty good chance that I’m thinking about work or getting a phone call from work, and I know this is part of what I signed up for when I took this job, however I need to do a better job of reaching that balance between work, family, and rest. It is a tough challenge and is one that many people spend a lifetime trying to perfect. It is something I need to do so that the people that work for me realize that it is possible. Will I ever get there? I am not sure, but I am going to try. For me, failure in this area is not an option.
Do you think you’ll ever get there? Tell me how you plan to do it.