Instituting a ‘no work’ day – and being okay with it

Work-life balance.


A subject we like to talk about at great length; an action that many of us refuse to implement.

In our culture of 24/7 availability, it’s hard to resist refreshing your work Inbox at night while the latest Netflix show plays in the background. Checking your own personal social media accounts often leads to taking a sneak peek at what’s happening with your organization’s Twitter and Facebook engagement and then 30 minutes go by in a blink of an eye.


Weekends — or the days that you are officially “off” from employment — are precious. Typically, we only receive two each week. Two. 104 of the 365 days available each calendar year. Yes, there are holidays, vacations, and personal leave sprinkled into the mix. But, those aren’t always guaranteed.

I struggle with not working over weekends, whether it’s checking email, engaging on social media, finishing up notes from a call earlier in the week, etc. Weekends offer uninterrupted time to wrap up all of the loose ends!


Y’all: we could work and work and work and work for the entire 48 hours of the weekend and we would still never complete all of the projects and tasks on our plate. If we want to continue to lead in this critical work for social change and justice for the long haul, we MUST prioritize our own mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. And that means honoring a no-work day.

Dog wearing a coat and tie position at a desk with a book open; text overlay reads: "How's my work-life balance? It's ruff."

I recognize that sequestrating yourself for a full day is not always an option — some careers require you to be on call or travel or be available to consult with people that you serve and support. Even if it can’t be a full day, do you give yourself dedicated space to unplug?

Hide your phone. Power down computers and tablets. Carve out intentional time for those activities that fill your cup. Take a nap. Read a book. Binge watch “The Great British Baking Show.” Work in your garden. Stroll around the park. Lounge near the pool. Hop in the car, on a train or bus for a day trip. Shop. Play a board game. Call a family member or friend. Sit on the front porch with a sweltering glass of iced tea or lemonade (because all things swelter right now in North Carolina). Find your restoration cure.

Today, I’m having a no-work day (confession: ok, I did set-up a couple of work tweets). But that’s it. No email. No reviewing the five Word documents sitting open right now. Tomorrow is another option. I know that if I don’t put my own oxygen mask on first, I will be in a world of hurt come Monday.

Need further inspiration? Three resources for finding that peace, even for a moment, in our chaotic world:

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