I finished a writing assignment on Saturday and submitted it to my editor. Sunday and Monday are not working days for me, so today was my first day back at the computer. My work hours are precious - I have only 14 of them each week - so when I have childcare I usually hit the ground running and don't stop until I absoultely have to leave the keyboard. But today I gave myself permission to do nothing.
For the last few days I have been dragging. I have felt emotionally and creatively drained. My courage has been iffy and I have been questioning how I spend my time and energy. I have a scratchy throat and I long for my cozy bed. Preferably with no squirmy toddler in it.
Back when I was a project manager of really big projects, I grew to love the in-between-project time. After you ship and after you celebrate there is this little slip of time in which you can take a great big breath and re-fill. Re-juice. In that space, if you give yourself permission, you can find the most wonderful things. New ideas. Things you've learned but haven't had time to assimilate yet. Epiphanies. The energy to design new processes and strategies if you need them.
So today, instead of anything that looked much like work, I caught up on all the articles I had filed away in Safari Reader. I sat on the couch and sipped a cup of lemon tea while the cats warmed my hip. I made a turkey and gouda sandwich and ate it sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table while I flipped through my writing notebook. I organized my list of ideas for essays and got them all in one place. I started a few new draft posts for this here blog. I stopped in the middle of what I was doing to grab my camera and photograph a flower on the kitchen windowsill that was catching the afternoon sun just so. I cleaned off my desk and paid the bills. I sat in the sun and read a letter (on actual paper!) from a friend who lives half a world away. I updated both of my computers with all the recent software updates. I cleared out my email inbox.
I didn't have any epiphanies this time. But I did decide to write this post, and I did remind myself that I have lots of ideas churning. So many! I thought a bit about what kind of writing I want to do next and how I want to build my business. And I reviewed my organizational methods and decided they are working for me still.
Most importantly, though. I feel better. My throat is still scratchy, but I'm sitting up straighter. I'm smiling, and I'm excited to start working again. And I still have 40 minutes until I go pick up the kid.
Do you do this? Do you pause between projects? What do you do to refill your cup right after you have finished something big?