Five things to do on your furlough
Clean the closets. Paint the bathroom. Trim the rose bushes. Do something completely different from your normal routine that will clear your head and make your muscles ache. Do this first. It is the most important.
Get fresh perspective.
Now that you have your mind off your regular work, you can read the papers and watch the news like a normal person, not like a news person. If the project is painting the bathroom, you have to cover the fixtures with newspapers, patch the cracks, prime the walls and apply two finish coats. To get this done in a day or two means getting up early, working steadily and being physically tired at night. Notice how little time you have to skim the headlines, much less read the jump on sprawling newspaper stories? Now that you have a fresh perspective on the press, you can begin to understand how your audience feels.
Start a blog. Make a video. Learn Flash. Figure out Twitter (if you do, clue me in). This is not so much to build your technical competence as to demonstrate that, yes, you can learn new things, overcome unanticipated challenges and adapt to the inevitable changes that lie ahead in the news business.
Polish your resume. Line up some freelance pieces. Update your network. Having a properly packed parachute doesn’t mean you will use it. But you will feel better knowing it’s there.
Scientific studies have shown that naps reduce burnout, which is defined as “irritation, frustration and poorer performance on a mental task.” Sound familiar? Although your normal routine probably doesn’t allow time for a mid-day siesta, it does now. Take advantage of the gift of time to recharge your batteries. But finish painting the bathroom first.