20% Days!

by elizabethbrantley

There is a successful business practice that allows you to take 1/5 (or 20%) of your time to pursue what you want to pursue. This is complete and total autonomy, except for one typically requirements –  to show what project you worked on in a meeting later (yet even the meeting later might be fun perhaps serving cake and beer!). Other than that it is you, creating.

This is a beautiful thing.

What they have found that this 20% time is actually vital to the production and advancement of companies – and it makes employees happy!

I am not one to learn something and not try it out in my own life. Miraculously, in the past few weeks, I have allowed myself a “20% day” (usually on these glorious Wednesdays) and it has proven to be tremendously useful in producing not only results at work, but within my own positive psychology. No one (before this post) knew I was taking it. I still showed up to work. I still answered emails and attacked what was absolutely necessary, but… if something came up, if I wanted to look into something, if lunch lingered longer… This is my 20% day! Pursue it!

What I have found is twofold.

1. I still get just as much done at work, except am able to “check” the stress at the door, since I don’t actually have to “do” anything (I have two more days to pursue that later).

2. Life supports this! What do I mean by that? In the past few weeks, as I have approached my Wednesday as a 20% day amazingly fun things have come my way – sushi making (“makin’ maki!”) parties come to my office  or free health screenings are given where I get to discuss and perform tests I would have done in my free time anyway.

What I find is that I am happy. I get through this transitional day pleased since I have given myself permission to do and be as I hope, not as I am expected to be. This is incredibly freeing and productive.

So can you take a 20% day (or perhaps apply it to 1/5 of your workday if you don’t want to take a whole day)? Can you give yourself permission to be “on” but “off” for a certain allotted amount of time? Can you pursue what you want to pursue joyously, without the restraints of guilt?

I hope so!