As many of you know, we (Dallas and Melissa) have a pretty non-traditional work schedule. We set our own work hours mid-week, but come Friday through Monday, we’re usually on the road conducting our Foundations of Nutrition and advanced topics Trainer’s workshops. This means we don’t get a “weekend” like most of you do – and for those of you who also own your own business, you know the very idea of a “day off” can be hard to come by.
Last June, we realized that our business had completely taken over our personal lives. We were a few months into running the Whole9 as our full-time job, and were too busy reacting to incoming business (emails, workshop requests, consulting requests) to be proactive about establishing healthy business vs. personal boundaries. We decided this just would not do.
At our old (9-5) jobs, we worked five days a week, for about 9 hours a day. When our day was done, for the most part, so were our job-related concerns. We left them at the office, came home and attended to personal things – housework, errands, training, reading books or watching movies. Weekends were always exclusively our own, save for the rare office emergency or overtime requirement.
But when the business is your own, all the rules are different. First, you don’t punch a clock, you can’t “let someone else deal with it” and there is often no time when you feel it’s acceptable to shut off, tune out and stop thinking about work. When your business is primarily conducted in a global market via the internet, there are no “office hours”, either. Folks are trying to connect with you all hours of the day and night, asking questions and soliciting advice via email, Facebook, Twitter and the web site. The perceived need to immediately connect with every potential client, workshop attendee, customer or reader makes it hard to resist typing up a quick response right then and there, despite the fact that it’s 10 PM on a Thursday. Finally, when a big portion of your business is conducted on most people’s weekends, forcing you to work when everyone else is “off”, well… you can see how it could be hard to establish any routine personal time at all.
Back in June 2010, we decided that having no personal life – no regular, weekly time blocked off just for US – was a really unhealthy way to live, and didn’t jibe with our present or future personal goals. Dallas grew up observing Saturday as the Sabbath – a day when his family would go to church, then spend the day together resting and relaxing. He remembered his family Sabbath days fondly, as it was the one day during the week when the family had nothing to do but be together and interact – no school, no chores, no errands or work. So we devised a plan, a way to take back one day a week, just for us. Call it our Saturday, call it our Sabbath… we just call it our Tuesday.
Every Tuesday, we take the day off. Like, OFF off. For one, we don’t work – not even in an emergency. If the web site blows up, if our workshop host cancels last minute, if a consulting client is experiencing a nut-butter-related emergency, it’s gonna have to wait. We don’t check or respond to email, we don’t respond to Facebook or Twitter questions, we don’t make business calls. We don’t fly, either – flying is the very antithesis of a day off. We also don’t train on Tuesdays, ever, even if our training is suffering, or our schedule is so busy we’ve missed days earlier in the week.
We don’t conduct commerce on that day – no errands, no shopping, no on-line transactions or paying bills. If there’s some meal ingredient we’re missing come Tuesday morning, we do without. If the car doesn’t have enough gas to get to the mountains, we just don’t go. It requires some planning and preparation, but the hassle of a grocery store check-out line, an automated customer service menu or even the five minutes it takes to fill up at the gas station is the exact opposite of what Tuesday should feel like. One last thing – we don’t do household chores either, so if the recycling needs to be taken out or there’s laundry sitting in the hamper, so be it. It will, we’ve discovered, wait. All of it, in fact, will wait.
Sometimes, We Do Nothing
So what DO we do on Tuesday? First, unless the weather is really sucky (an uncommon occurrence here in Utah), we get outside. In the summer, we’ll head to the park, the mountains or the canyons for a hike, a picnic or just some reading and relaxing in the sun. In the winter, we’ll go for a walk or a hike, a long drive into the canyons, or hit the hills for some snowboarding (as long as we buy tickets the day before). We’ll almost always nap. We read a lot – fiction, non-fiction, magazines, anything but work-related material. We play Scrabble. We cook the kind of fun but complicated meals we don’t normally have time to make. We watch movies, but only if they’re Tuesday-appropriate (which usually means thought-provoking documentaries). We catch up with family and friends on the phone or Skype. We do… nothing. Yep, sometimes, we do absolutely nothing, because that’s exactly what Tuesday is for.
Big picture, we think of Tuesdays as “family day”. It’s the one day set aside just for us, where we don’t have to do any of the stressful tasks that make the day go by way too fast (and make us wish we didn’t have to be so grown up all of the time). Sometimes they’re just lazy and easy, sometimes we spend a good part of the day talking about important stuff, other days we just get out and explore our new area. But we always try to respect the spirit and the feel of Tuesday, and try to stick to the intentions with which the day was built for us, by us.
Life Is Sneaky
Tuesday quickly became our favorite day of the week – the one we looked forward to the most. But it only works because we’ve committed to the idea one hundred percent. It’s all too easy to let non-Tuesday events slip into our routine. A side trip to the gas station, a quick phone call to the bank, an absent-minded email check and our day has quickly morphed into just any other day. The whole point is that Tuesdays are different. We have to be dedicated to the idea of preserving that one day a week for just for US… and it’s harder than it sounds. We’ve sat around on a few Tuesday nights thinking, “We didn’t do a very good job with our day today.” Sometimes it’s perceived pressure to get things done, sometimes it’s our own selfish desires, sometimes it’s just a failure to be mindful of our actions – all can lead to a degradation of what our day should look like, and feel like. Life has a sneaky way of infiltrating a Tuesday, and we have to be prepared with strategies to keep it out, and dedication to see it through. Why do we work so hard to preserve rules that are, at the heart, rather arbitrary? Because we both believe this concept is crucial for the health of our relationship, our family, our sanity. So we protect it with everything we have, and we continue to refine and explore what our Tuesday means to us.
Want Your Own Tuesday?
Here are some ideas for creating your own dedicated “Tuesday”. Even if you can’t take a whole day, use these concepts to carve out some quiet time just for you and your family.
Subscribe to the Whole9 Newsletter
Fill out the form below to stay updated about Whole9 articles, discounts and events.
What a lovely post. What a lovely idea. There are so many of these concepts I could/should implement into one of my weekend days. No shoe shopping though? ;)
Absolutely – as an entrepreneur of my own ilk for the past 10+ years, I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons about boundaries, space, mental health, and good ol-fashioned R&R.
It shocks people at times that I won’t schedule a phone call for a Saturday, or check my email over the weekend, or work in the evenings. Honestly, it shocks me sometimes that people do, and typically without any conscious awareness about why they are.
I’ve heard many, many stories about folks who open fitness businesses who end up working insane hours and getting depleted beyond belief, so it’s obvious there are lessons to be learned for lots of people around this. When my clients hear that I don’t do email on the weekends, and look at me with wild-eyed wonder—as if I’m a pink unicorn that just wandered into their living room—I want to tell them, “It’s your life, people – set it up how you want it.”
Hooray for Tuesdays.
Just what I needed to hear. As usual. LOVE this.
Sounds awesome, but it’s a luxury concept. I rarely manage to get through all the household necessities of cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and food prep on the weekend. i couldn’t afford to give up an entire day.
Great post. We observe the Sabbath from Fri night to Sat night. We dont drive, dont cook, no computers etc. Its synagogue time, family time, we eat, we hang out, we sleep, etc….It’s a great way to spend 25hrs!
Vitaly Sender says
Wonderful. Honestly such an amazing concept! You guys really are about so much more than just nutrition, and it’s so fantastic to see how much you care about lifestyle in general. Your Tuesdays sound blissful! :)
The Get In Shape Girl says
I NEED this in my life!! My boyfriend and I are starting a business together and I’ve begun calling him my biz partner. He’s not my boyfriend anymore. I ask to go on dates and he says no, not until we are done with (enter really long, to-do list here.) It’s driving me absolutely crazy. I already wake up at 4am to train my clients, so I’m usually exhausted by the time he gets home from his crazy real estate job so once again, we don’t even eat dinner together, and don’t even go to bed at the same time many nights. We barely have a relationship anymore, aside from business dealings, which at this point I’m getting to where I just don’t want it anymore.
I NEED A TUESDAY!!!!!!
This hit me like a ton of gluten. I’ve been full time self employed since last June and I’ve had less than 20 days where I had zero clients. I may only train 3-7 hours a day. But I’m always working, bbm’ing putting out nutrition fires, emailing, checking up, reading new papers. I feel like if I let up and ignore the phone or don’t answer emails right away, my amazing, fufilling dream job will dry up!!! I need to get balanced again and spend more time cooking, reading, playing!! Great post guys. I think I need some rules for myself.
My husband I are both self-employed, each with a home office. When she was a toddler, my daughter slammed my keyboard tray shut (nearly w/my hands in it) and screamed, “NO PUTER!” That was my wakeup call! My “Tuesdays” are not quite as hard-core as yours (I’m really liking your Tuesdays! Pure awesomeness!!), but my committment that when my kids come home from their days at school, my work day is over – period. We work on homework, read books, do “chores” together (which little kids actually think is fun – 4-yr old laundry folding is “interesting”), do puzzles, play games, and prep/cook dinner together. It’s not always “unicorns and fairies” around here, and our evening s can get rather hectic w/a 4-yr-old and 9-yr-old in the house, but unplugging at a reasonable hour has significantly changed my, and my family’s, quality of life (NEWS FLASH: you sleep a whole lot better when you “shut off” early enough). You are right – whatever you think can’t wait really can:) Good for you two – finding such balance is not always easy!
Rob EE says
I wish I had a Tuesday…. or Monday even.
Matt Pierce says
GREAT post! Sometimes I can get so obsessed with my own business! Can’t forget to live a little!
Melissa @ Whole9 says
@Emily: We can’t presume to know how truly busy others are – the single working mom, the parent of five, the young adult putting himself through school. But even if you can’t implement an entire day for yourself, there’s definitely value for you AND your family for setting aside whatever time you can – whether it’s Laura’s “after school rule” or Adam’s “no business calls on the weekend” or a “no chore” Sunday afternoon… to devote just to yourself, your family, the things that get pushed to the side during your busy day to day. Start small – even an hour or two is a wonderful start.
@Rob: Hope things are going well – how’s that new beautiful baby of yours doing? You’ll sleep again soon, I’m sure of it. ;) Hi to Sandra for us.
@Matt: “Obsessed” is the right word – it’s hard to put it down, sometimes. But for the sake of your business AND your sanity, you’ve gotta walk away from time to time. (Just not for too long, because we need our Primal Pacs.)
I refer to the way you guys live as Living On Purpose. and that’s a very good thing! Keep up the good rest. :)
This was a wonderful post! My boyfriend & I travel so much and sometimes spend many many weeks apart. I think this will truly help us become stronger long distance or together, “knowing” this is “our time.”
My husband and I own two (about to be three) businesses together. I love the idea of taking 1 day a week completely “off.” Thank you for this post!
i absolutely love this idea, congratulations on creating something just for you. Have a great Tuesday!
We have a sabbath day as our belief system and people who are not familiar with it get really confused. They see it as a burden, a bunch of “you can’t this or that” but it’s not that at all, it’s freedom to just be, and be with. We attend to church with a group of people who have the same practice but what their ‘day of rest’ looks like might be a little different that what ours does, but we all have a day ‘off’ to recharge and reconnect. Our biggest obstacle as a family on that day is getting individually lost in our electronic media. So easy to hop on and read an email, check facebook, etc that we end up in our own little worlds. I’ve been trying to institute “No Screen Saturday” to go along with it but it is slow going…maybe the summer weather will help us get outdoors and spend time together. I’m glad Dallas remembers his family sabbath with fondness, but I’m sure he understands and even chuckles when I say the monthly church potluck just does…me…in. lol
Dallas @Whole9 says
I understand. Truly. Thank you for your comments, and we encourage you to build in a Screen-free Day into your Sabbath (or some other day). We use our phones to call/text friends and family, but no web browsing, email, or social media. That’s just what works well for us. I look forward to my Tuesday more than any other day – except perhaps the first day of snowboarding every year. :) As far as potluck goes, it sounds like eating before church and packing a snack might save you from some of the hideously unhealthy stuff that shows up there. It’s a little ironic, really, that we didn’t eat meat purportedly for health reasons, but that we (and our community) ate all manner of health-destroying unfood. Best of luck, and in advance, Happy Sabbath!
Did Dallas grow up SDA as a child?
Melissa @Whole9 says
He did, in fact. That’s where this concept of our “Sabbath” on Tuesdays came from.
Such a GREAT idea. With four kids and a crazy, hectic schedule this is a very needed and welcomed concept. I’m going to discuss this with my husband tonight. He will wholeheartedly like this idea too, I believe. Thank you for inspiration!
My husband is ex-SDA also. My husband will say he doesn’t eat pork but will chow down on bacon. I joke that Bacon is an animal that looks like a pig, smells like a pig but is not a pig but the mythical animal known as Bacon.