Reformations: A Day of Rest
Posted by Evan at 12:02 pm on August 23rd, 2009
Apparently the Spring is a time for modifying my habits, as this past spring (much like the one before it) I experimented with how I prioritized my time. I continued my tradition of rising early (and again reaped the benefits from that practice) but I also began to take one day each week "off" from school. On that day, no matter what was happening with school assignments, I wouldn't do homework or work on school projects. Anything else was perfectly acceptable: sleep, watch movies, design a website, or even (gasp!) socialize.
The origin of this experiment was in a discussion about the Sabbath and why, as students, we never seemed to follow the principle of not "working" on the seventh day. Employees typically only work five days a week, and often get their "day of rest" on the weekend, but for students the weekend is as much a time to tackle school assignments as the workweek is. In fact many professors are known to give extra homework prior to a weekend (and even vacations!), thus necessitating that students spend their "day of rest" on school work. And with their workweek filled with classes, many students are thus prevented from being able to step away from academics in order to deal with life.
After the discussion, I wondered what would happen if I actually tried to fit a Sabbath into my week. Would I run out of time for completing homework? Would my grades suffer? Would I come to relish the day of rest? Would I actually have a life outside of academics?! I decided to try it and appointed Sunday my personal day of rest. (Note that while the context of the discussion referenced above was religious, after trying it I firmly believe that the principle is applicable even outside religious circles: gaining perspective by stepping out of the immersion from time to time can be immensely valuable.)
The first Sunday to come around after my decision was, in short, amazing! Knowing that I didn't even need to think about homework, that I could do (within reason) anything I wanted, and that I had a whole day in which to do it (guilt-free!) made it one of the best weekends ever! You know that feeling when you wake up and you realize you can do whatever you want and that the whole day lies unplanned and open in front of you? That was the feeling I had that fateful morning; I hadn't felt that way when waking up during a school term for as long as I could remember. For the first time I was free to enjoy being at school without the weight of doing school.
Needless to say I chose then and there to implement the "weekly day of rest" policy for at least the rest of the term. I stuck with the policy throughout the semester even though it occasionally put a little extra strain on Saturdays or Mondays, but it was absolutely worth it. Eventually a number of other guys - most of whom had also been involved in the discussion referenced above - also put the policy in place, although occasionally it had to be modified. For example, a few guys knew they wouldn't be able to swing a full day without homework, but they could choose a 24-hour period of time to be their "day" and it worked well for them.
The day doesn't have to be Sunday, and it doesn't even have to be a regular "day," but if it's at all possible I would highly recommend setting aside time each week to step back from your regular routine in order to live life. I think you'll love it!