Tag Archives: relaxing

Road Trip? Perfect.

woman driving carBy Kim Fernandez, CAE

There’s a day-long road trip in my near future. Next week, I’ll fill the tank, pop into the Wawa for my obligatory bag of Combos, head across the Chesapeake, and pick up my son from college, where he’s spent the summer in a research program. Three hours over, an hour to pack the car and grab lunch, and three hours back, assuming no Bay Bridge backup shenanigans (not always a fair assumption).

My husband reached for his calendar yesterday, thinking maybe he could clear his schedule and come with. I politely declined. As tired as I am by the end of these driving days, I look forward to them very much–not just because there are a few weeks with a grown-up kid at the end, but because those hours on the highway by myself with my playlist and my snacks and the sunroof open serve to blow out the mess of cobwebs from between my ears.  They’re breathing time, thinking time, processing time, and, in some odd way, relaxing time.

It’s been a challenging year to find quiet hours without a name on them. Somebody’s always home, somebody always wants to come with, there’s always a reason I should be doing something else besides sitting. College pick-up is the perfect excuse–and a reminder to myself that a few refresh hours here and there are a wise investment.

So I’m updating my playlist, checking the weather, shutting my phone and all its beeps in the glove box, and looking forward to the trip.  Hoping for sunshine and a cool breeze, super excited to bring the kid back for a bit, and knowing it’s going to be a good day.

Kim Fernandez, CAE, is IPMI’s director of publications.

The Art–and Value–of Doing Nothing

Woman laying down watching TV on her laptopBy Kim Fernandez

This was supposed to be a busy year. Besides work, I had several days of out-of-state college touring with my daughter, plus a five-day trip as a chaperone with her school choir group, plus days to move my son home from college, plus a family vacation, plus a few other out-of-office things planned. Quite frankly, I wasn’t quite sure how everything was going to fit.

And then COVID-19 hit. The county where I live has been a hotspot for quite some time and we’ve been very much socially distancing (read: trapped in the house) since March 15; most of our businesses remain closed even now. Everything on my calendar grew a thick, red line and because everyone in my house was in my house, taking previously scheduled time off seemed pointless. Cancel, cancel, cancel.

Our office closed for a few days after the IPMI Virtual Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo and because we’re still not going anywhere, I planned 48 solid hours of organizing, cleaning, and task-accomplishing. Sounded great. Super productive. And then the days came and I sat on the couch and sort of didn’t get up. I spent two days doing absolutely nothing–watching movies, binging shows, dozing a bit, snuggling with dogs, playing on the internet, and hauling upright with a grumble when it was time to make dinner. This is, to put it lightly, out of character and slightly unnerving, and I did wonder multiple times what the heck was going on.

The weekend came and the family routine returned and guess what? I felt a little guilty that my to-do list was cobwebby from inattention, but I mostly felt rested up and refreshed. Even though we haven’t been leaving the house and it feels like we’re doing nothing, my brain needed that respite of actually doing nothing for a few days. It’s been written about a ton, but this was a revelation to me.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen to our planned vacation this year and I have no idea when things like college tours–or even college–might start up again (or how long it’ll last even then) but I’m leaving those empty days on the calendar. Taking a break felt fantastic, even though it wasn’t physically much different than the last few months. Going forward, an occasional few hours or days of nothing will be a priority.

Kim Fernandez is IPMI’s director of publications and editor of Parking & Mobility.



Hobby Your Way to CEO

By Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA

Are you working too hard to have time for a hobby? Rethink that. If you want to move up the corporate ladder, get a hobby. That’s the takeaway from a fascinating article in the October 2018 Harvard Business Review (HBR).

According to HBR, many of the CEOs of top companies in the U.S. have one thing in common: They make time for hobbies they are passionate about, and those hobbies enhance rather than detract from their ability to succeed.

According to the article, David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, moonlights as a DJ. Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, plays squash. From cycling, to studying Taekwondo, to being a drummer in a band, to playing basketball, building a collection, flying airplanes, or fishing, these CEOs don’t just play, they excel. Many attribute their hobbies to their success–teaching lessons in humility, authentic leadership, providing true escape, learning never to quit, finding ways to be their best.

My favorite quote was from Andy Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, who said, “I train a lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and you know, when someone’s trying to take your head off, you pretty much can only think about that.”

Down time is much needed time to refresh body and soul. So, don’t feel guilty on that golf course, race course, or taking that online art course–you need that, and maybe your career needs it, too.

Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is IPMI’s communications counsel.