Work has the power to emotionally exhaust everyone. Customers, clients, and coworkers can drain us faster than iPhones with Location Services turned on. Artists are at a higher risk of burnout, because the moment our shifts end we punch into our creative vocation. If you’re a writer it doesn’t matter how much copy you wrote while you were on the clock. When you get home you have to put another 2,000 words. Everyday is a double shift.
This leaves us with even less time to reach total zen.
When it comes to distractions we have an embarrassment of riches. We don’t know how to spend our time off, so we spend it debating; what to watch, where to go, who to hangout with. We over schedule and no matter what we end up doing we feel like we’re missing out on something. Even when we stay in we feel like we’re losing out on the best possible lounging.
That’s why we’ve got to up our relaxation game; tighten up our sweatpants, strap on our slippers, and roll up our Snuggies. We need to kick up our heels, fluff up our pillows, and dip our hammocks in the kiddie pool.
There’s a difference between a couch potato and a proper ottoman Au Gratin. A prime time channel surfer has nothing on a dedicated multi-slacker. That’s because real relaxation is for regimented recliners who know how to lie hard. These master mellow outers can make a half day feel like a three day weekend. They can make a fifteen minute power nap feel like hibernation. They’re so good at getting nothing done it amounts to a negative something.
These expert-ease-takers know how to binge watch during a marathon gaming session while surfing the web at the same time. They fill out adult coloring books with one hand and eat junk food with the other. They listen to audiobooks in their left ear and podcasts in their right. They take warm baths and soothing showers simultaneously.
These calmness connoisseurs, these veteran alleviators, these legends of leisure they’ve got the whole of YouTube cued up to watch in one sitting. They’ve got a buffet of comfort food lining their countertops. They’ve got pajamas that double as street clothes.
Everyone needs to recharge, especially power slackers. This is what you do when your batteries are the size of steel drums.
Maintain Your Fortress of Solitude
If you work from home lay a tarp over your work equipment so that it doesn’t offend your eyes. Lay sandbags on the canvas corners and use gaffer’s tape to seal it to the floor. If the tarp is over carpeting use staples. If the silhouettes of your work tools show through the vinyl don’t let the sight of them trigger your stress. This is your day off you don’t need reminders of arduous labor.
Stack Styrofoam blocks around your workstation to conceal the contours of your instruments. You could use other foams, but polyurethane could prove too weak to support the tarp while polyethylene could prove difficult to cut, and these blocks won’t fit right out of the box. You’ll have to measure the perimeter of your work area and cut the foam to fit. You could use an electric knife but if your work area is as large as mine you’ll want to invest in a power saw.
To make this procedure go faster I invested in industrial ceiling hooks to hang the tarp from. I’ve seen others mount curtain track rails to create impromptu dividers. Again, do what works for you. This is all just to help you get on top of your downtime.
Stock up for Hibernation
In order to reach the purest form of armchair attainment you need to spend your days off prepping for days off to come. Treat your living room like a fall out shelter. Ask yourself, “How many hours could I spend here in nothing but my underwear?”
Find used grocery store shelves online and loft one on top of the other. Invest in a rolling ladder and put out a mosaic of snack chips. Get your salsa by the gallon. Roll a keg to the conveyance store and fill it with nacho cheese. Pro Tip: A taco salad bar ties any room together.
I’ve modeled my beverage delivery system off of the pneumatic tubes they use at the bank. All you’ll need to do to get the same effect is carve three holes in your refrigerator, repurpose cat doors to the trap cool air in, and mount a compressed air pump to your couch. With the flick of the switch you’ll have a cold one without having to stand. Now that’s convenience.
Everyday is a Digital Age Buffet
It’s not enough to subscribe to every streaming service on the planet, to have a library of unread literature at your fingertips, or an infinite playlist, you need to know how to master experiencing multiple mediums at once. Most people give themselves so many options that most of their time is spent trying to make a selection. Why not multitask?
I’m not talking about stepping onto the Stair Master while watching the news. That’s bush league multi-slacking. I’m talking about lining up all the flashing rectangles in your home and channel surfing like Elvis Presley with a line of televisions.
You can’t waste a good day off watching one movie at a time, nor should you have to endure mounting tension, character development, and moments of silence. This is why you should only watch the trailers. These days film trailers give away every story beat in 2% of the time. So cue ‘em up and watch ‘em down.
Match Your Entertainment to Your Mood
How many times has this happened to you? You wait for a movie to come out for the home theater only to find you’re not in the mood when it gets there. Trainwreck looks funny, but you’re too far down in the dumps to enjoy it. Spotlight looks great, but it seems too dramatic. Inside Out looks cute, but you were just diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder and the movie might trigger a psychotic event.
Write a list of all the motion pictures you’d watch if only you had the time. Sift through their IMDB synopses until you get a sense of their moods. Now chart out your most frequent emotional states on a whiteboard and pair them up with corresponding films. With any luck your television will feel like a mood ring.
Power slacking is all about putting in the time so you can enjoy your time off. It’s about rolling up your sleeves so you can unroll yourself. It’s about tightening up your belt so you can hang loose. If you want to count yourself among the ingenious indulgers, unwinding wizards, and ace easy goers you’ll have to go the extra mile so you don’t have to move an extra inch.
A power slacker who can’t think of an article idea for Monday will write an entire rant on the art of power slacking. That’s how good they are.
In fact, I’ve been slacking off this entire time.
This is my first collection of musical spoken word recordings. Each recording puts a satirical slant on self improvement, self medicating heartbreak with humor, and dropping the mic on depression. The recordings are scored with synth melodies, backing beats, and radio drama sound FX.
4 thoughts on “The Art of Power Slacking”
Holy…I need to figure out who to drop my kid off with for a couple hours so I can do this! There’s an illness going through the adults in my house and it’s almost inevitable that I’m next, and I’m so stressed being a mom/housekeeper/pet-wrangler/nurse/writer/blogger that I don’t actually remember the last movie I watched for ME! If I don’t get a load off soon someone’s going to get it, (and it will most likely be my [almost] innocent husband) and if I get sick baby will get sick, and the stress of everything will simply compound until my brain atomizes and I maim the next illegal-lane-changing Soccer Mom with telekinesis.
I really don’t have a problem with chilling out. I can do it at the drop of a hat, whenever I feel the need. This comes in handy at night too, for I can fall aslep in minutes.
But, the odd thing is, the need doesn’t happen very often. I love what I do, and would rather be doing it than practically anything else…
“Legends of Leisure” is my favorite. ^-^
I applaud your ability to wrestle dedication into inspiration, and your conclusion was (as ever) brilliant.
You: Ask yourself, “How many hours could I spend here in nothing but my underwear?”
Me: You wear underwear? How tedious.