Relaxed Focus

There are long weeks, and then there are really, really long weeks. Sometimes the four-day work weeks are the ones that suspiciously feel the longest, and other times you’ll have legitimately lengthy weeks when you’re in back-to-back meetings from 9 to 5, only to finally be released to a heap of work that’s been waiting all day for you to tackle it. So, dutifully, you do, and then it’s 10 o’clock before you realize you’ve missed dinner.

Today was one of those days when the to-do list kept getting longer and longer. It felt like a mean-spirited test. “Oh, yeah? You want a three-day weekend? Alright, here. Work for it.”

Cool, no problem. Consider it done.

So I toiled, then toiled a bit longer. Longer still. It wasn’t frantic toiling, it was simply one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, let’s-get-this-thing-done toiling. Relaxed toiling. Focused toiling. Yep, still more toiling — with an occasional trip (read: limp) to the printer. And just when I thought I was done, there was more.

The alternative wasn’t desirable. Yes, I could leave it until Tuesday and come back to a hodgepodge, but that would take the fun out of three days off. Why waste precious R&R time thinking about the pile that awaits my return? No bueno.

Just as I was on my last ounce of energy, I realized I was at the end of the tunnel. The light was there and it was blinding, like a neon sign with a giant arrow pointing to the word “HOME.” Finally! I’d kept my head down for so long that I didn’t notice, and it’s just as well. I’m sure the time passed more quickly than it would’ve had I focused on the moments ticking by. I packed up and headed out.

The cleaning crew was there settling in for the night shift, whistling songs that brightened our cool, gray, polished concrete hallways. A co-worker said good night and walked me out, and I said a quiet prayer that he’d be able to get home before his kiddos went to sleep; bedtime for them had been coming earlier than dad’s return from work, and he hadn’t seen much of them all week. Security was sitting at his post in our lobby, and noticed with a friendly compliment that I was making progress off the crutches. Sometimes the longest hours reveal the warmest souls.

Tonight I am grateful for my inner voice that encouraged me to tie up all the loose ends before sliding head-first into a three-day weekend. Mine wasn’t the most graceful approach ever, but it got the job done. And with that checked off, there was only one thing to do:

Focus on relaxing.


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