How to take time off. An introduction to WILD. - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

How to take time off. An introduction to WILD.

Welcome to part three of the Voice series! Listen to episode 1 and episode 2 if you wish, or dive in below:

At the recent meeting of my KK on Tap peeps — (click here to get in on coaching for the entirety of 2019!) — we had plowed through the set of initial questions and were getting to the ones that people usually deem too ‘stupid’ to ask.


They’re usually exactly the thing everyone in the room is thinking or feeling, and thus they reveal whole worlds when they’re out in the open.

“How do you take time off?”

We had to walk through what taking time off isn’t, so I’ll recap for you:

Tackling new work projects you didn’t have time for during the year is not time off.
Working 2 or 3 hours less than usual is not time off.
Comprehensively crossing every single item off a dry erase board full of this year’s ignored work activities is not time off.
Checking your email on your phone instead of on a bigger screen is not time off.
Returning calls or emails ‘real quick’ while standing up (because not sitting means you’re not working!) or on the toilet is not time off.

Taking time off means operating under the assumption that the world will go on without your efforts to keep it in motion.

The world does not need your emails to be returned within 2 hours. We will not shrivel and die if you enjoy your weekend completely and don’t even share it on Instagram. You are not required to sip inspiration and rest through a coffee-stirrer-sized straw while you pour yourself out in larger and larger pitchers-full of effort without any rest at all. To put it another way:

Burnout is not the price of being alive.

So, how do you actually take time off without constantly worrying about, checking in on, or dreaming about your business? What if you actually learn to separate your work from your worth (which is literally the subject of this podcast, so start there if you need it)?

You ask yourself this question, over and over and over.

What sort of immersive experiences would I like to have?

Immersive, as in ‘completely consumes your attention for a period of time.’

Immersive can be any activity you find lovely and enjoyable: reading, sex, bathing, writing, drawing, painting, crafting, meeting up with friends, and generally making come to mind.

Going to the movies is immersive. It’s impossible to be checking your email and answering texts with a movie on the big screen, if only because the other patrons will throw their popcorn at you when you try to sneak a glance at your screen.

Netflix is not immersive. You’re at home, which for many of us means we’re making lists upon LISTS of things to do, try, and take care of when we look around. You can easily be distracted by any number of ’emergencies’ or try to watch some low-brain-usage shows while you also do work. (Been there, did that to the tune of an entire season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.)

What sort of immersive experiences would I like to have?

What would I like to try, learn, experience, make, or enjoy during my time off?

What do I never ‘let’ myself do?

These questions usher in your own answers to how to take time off.

Instead of trying to find ways to putz around the house and avoid doing the seventy-four piles of laundry left wrinkling in the corner — which generally leads to scrolling for hours at a time — you’ve accessed a bundle of experiences that get you excited about putting your business down for a while.

Lest you think ‘immersive’ is code for ‘expensive.’ My answer to the immersive experience question was free.

I scheduled a day to (not check email and) visit the Philadelphia Free Library. I wandered around and picked a book to read, then parked myself at a table and…read. I took notes. I patted myself on the back for making such a magnificent choice. I dipped into a few other books that caught my eye, and strolled out two hours and forty-five minutes later.

For a brief bit of time, I didn’t worry about texts or email or Instagram or trying to encapsulate my experience for sharing. I just channeled the 6-year-old self that could read uninterrupted for days of summer vacation on end, and I let her out to romp. She basically freaked out and couldn’t believe how great it was to be in a library with windows 20 feet tall and this whole building has BEEN HERE this WHOLE TIME and it was FUCKING DELIGHTFUL.

Your immersive experiences might be going to the gym or taking a workshop or signing up for a once-a-week class for the foreseeable future. They might be taking your family to see fireworks or new movies or, hell, the library for a while.

You might cook a meal that uses every last one of your gourmet tools or practice your French with a foreign language partner or just make yourself leave the house and see what happens.

Whatever gets you away from places your clients can demand things of you and into the bigger world counts as an immersive experience.

The more immersive experiences you let yourself enjoy, the easier it is to believe that your business will not wither and die from 24 hours of ‘neglect.’

Counterintuitively, the more immersive experiences and time off you enjoy, the more likely you are to produce better and more engaging work.

Vaguely distracted, always-on you isn’t nearly as compelling, talented, or alive as the you that can only be accessed by taking the time and energy necessary to refill your well.

Finally! When you disengage from work in a healthy way and on a regular basis, you’re actively refusing to put all your eggs in the ‘money’ basket of life. You do not make money from walking around the neighborhood and petting every dog you see, but you do help your soul believe the world is okay, at some level. You are not actively earning dollars for putting in your time on the treadmill, but you are remembering that you have and can even enjoy a body. You will not earn millions from loving the shit out of your partner at a secret hotel rendezvous, but you will strengthen your relationship through shared experience.

The world gets more wild and delightful when you choose to actively engage with it as a human being instead of couching the entirety of your value in your work on this earth.

To be crystal clear: learning to take time off is revisiting some part of your own wildness.

Wild is just unlearning the conditioning and thought patterns that typically govern your behavior.

Instead of buying into the reasoning that says you need to be more productive and work harder while in a semi-distracted, ultra-connected state, you unplug. You let the emails go unchecked for a while. You throw yourself into an experience that isn’t all about generating income. You make blank spaces in your calendar and refuse to fill them. You don’t try jamming one more thing into an already-full day. You sink into your bathtub and feel the glorious feeling of having a body. You let the subway ride be the subway ride without it being an opportunity to play a game, check the news, scroll on Instagram, or return emails.

You can re-wild yourself at any time, from the inside out.

What would I like to try, learn, experience, make, or enjoy during my time off?

What do I never ‘let’ myself do?

Those are questions designed to bring the edges of your wild to light. You aren’t required to spend eight days naked outdoors in order to find it.

Start where you are, with what you’re not ‘allowed’ to do. And go do it.

As we’ll explore in the Voice workshop, the most resonant voices are wild, kind, brave, and clear.  Next week, we’ll hit up ‘kindness’ and dive deeper into why being nice…sucks. Hard.

P.S.  Related: how to hermit without breaking your brand.