|Many of us Americans recently celebrated Labor Day – a national holiday in the United States and Canada, honoring working people. (That is also the same definition some countries use for May Day. Interesting.)
While so many of us celebrated, I found it ironic that a number of self-employed entrepreneurs and the unemployed worked right through this holiday in some form or another. You know who you are. Whether updating your database, clearing your desk, going through all of that junk mail (paper and electronic), reviewing projections, reports, Web site content, branding or simply doing laundry – you were working. Cleaning a garage or sorting through some of the clutter in your head, life, in office or car – there is always work to be done.
While some were enjoying a movie matinee or planning for the street block party, you were thinking that by doing, doing, doing, you could actually catch up with all the others and keep your place in the game of life intact. You are a winner. An overachiever. A sheer success. Your ancestors would be proud.
Some of us found justification this past Labor Day to get some things done that might seem like pampering but are just errands and maintenance in disguise. How hard is it to find a nail salon open to get a mani-pedi on the holiday? Not hard at all – this I know. Pretty quiet in there, too. Dyeing your gray hair roots on any Monday is difficult and just not going to happen. Don’t go there.
Here, I propose the many things that are possible to do any holiday weekend the next time around:
• Clean your desk. There are at least four projects within that stack alone.
• Update all your contacts and merge into LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You know you have been meaning to do that for months. Figure out all the features on all the sites and how they can benefit you.
• Read all your connections’ profiles and all their connections’, too. Tweet everyone while you are at it. Re-do your profile.
• Read up on all swine flu outbreaks and sanitize your entire house, office and body. Install those dispensers in every room. Tweet about that, too.
• Contemplate changing all branding for your company.
• Empty junk mail on computer and in paper form.
• Research and update all viruses and spam programs. Call your service provider to waste some more time on hold, only to find out they do not know more than you and cannot help you because you have Outlook and not Outlook Express. There is also a two-week wait for them to come out – if they show up within the eight-hour window.
• Analyze your and your family members’ calling plans. Counting the texts and downloads ought to really get you worked up and save you all sorts of time and money in the process.
• Google database organization programs like Card Scan and ACT. Go buy both and see which one works best once you enter the information from all those thousands of business cards you've been collecting.
• Buy a new computer and screw around with it all weekend.
• Sew buttons and hem pants. Darn socks you find around the house.
• Clean the grout. If it’s white, pour coffee on it to escape the agony later.
• Reorganize your closet using that article and pictures you saved from Real Simple magazine. Nothing simple about this magazine as it is an inch thick.
• Clean out the garage – or just go through a few boxes and re-sort/re-stack so it looks like you did a lot. It’s amazing what a little sweeping can do. Face lift!
• Wash the dog.
• Clean the car (including the trunk and all enclosed spaces). This will feel like a holiday with lots of surprise gifts when you see what you find. You know you knew where that lipstick was. No need to buy 10 more in the same shade.
• Whiten your teeth.
• Do the bills.
• Create some report on Excel or just redo one for fun.
• Write a blog!
Or just sleep in till your body tells you it is time for it to wake, eat a leisurely breakfast out or with whomever you choose (perhaps alone, in peace, even), take a walk on a beach, go to a party without having to prepare or bring everything, see a movie (or two), read a book and fall asleep on the couch.
It will all be there on Tuesday morning. Remember, there is a reason why we have holidays. You are not the exception. The world will, indeed, exist if you take a day of rest. We are not as significant or as important as we tell ourselves in order to explain our busyness. Or is it our business?