Factory Shut Down

I had heard of factory “shut downs” because of my husbands’ job and company schedule. I never really thought about why they had shut-downs; perhaps just an employee perk for more time off, I assumed.

It wasn’t until I was in the HR Manager role for a global security manufacturer that shut down days took on a new meaning. The days and week off were utilized to their full potential. Not all shut-downs in all companies may appear this way; but what we were able to accomplish in this time led to growth in the form of more efficient and increased productivity, ultimately making the company more successful and profitable. Most Desirable? Yes – of course!

But, lets rewind about 25-30 years… no, this isn’t my life story!

From the time I was in Elementary school, I always enjoyed, ok THRIVED, on remaining busy, in action, involved in anything and everything I possibly could be. Sign me up, whatever it was, sign me up. I loved the social aspect and, wait for it… meeting new people (shocker). I loved trying new things and having an organized calendar of events lined up for me. Dance lessons, Basketball games, cheerleading practice, choir, student council; sure why not! Was there anything I didn’t like? I don’t know that I can say there is anything I recall NOT liking. I’m sure my Mom has different recollections that aren’t in my memory bank, but I think I even enjoyed homework. WHAT? I just liked my time to be filled. My brain was best when it was busy. (At least that is what I thought)

And here I am…38, still planning out my time on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.

What is that quote or meme about having an average of “30 internet tabs” open in their life browser at all times. It honestly does feel like that at times. (society as a whole has made this a norm) If I could just shut 28 or 29 of them until I’m finished with one…


I think in today’s world, that sometimes being busy becomes a certificate of honor; this badge that we give ourselves when we check all of the boxes. You know, like girl scout or boy scout badges. We’re working late to meet some deadline or to please a boss. We’re driving kids to EVERY possible activity they can be involved in because.... well because that is what we are “supposed to do.” Planning out menus to please the family AND be well balanced, check some “great job” box. A large portion of our mental space begins to fill with “THIS”. We begin to fill our mind, our thoughts, full of this notion that WHAT we do and how busy we are is what defines us and our happiness. I am in no way indicating that some of these tasks don’t in fact add to our joy and happiness. I mean who doesn’t enjoy a homecooked healthy meal after witnessing the joy of your son hitting a grand slam? Those PeakJoy moments do equal happiness in my book. But, how about we add “ be lazy” to our checklist every once in a while? Dust is accumulating on “THAT” portion of our brain.

GUILTY I have been (and still am at times). “Get over it Joy. Nobody is making you feel guilty about doing any of it, except YOURSELF! THERE. IS. NO. BADGE. OF. HONOR.” In this past year I have taken this to heart. You better believe being lazy and doing what makes me feel good has been added to my checklists.

I often refer to advice and words given from my Dad, but this one, which has become just as integral as any to PeakJoy life comes from my Mom. She would say something along the lines of “you know, it’s ok to just be”. Who cares if the dishes don’t get done tonight. Who cares if the laundry sits for another day or two. It’s ok to miss one game or not volunteer for everything. Slow down. It will all be ok. Just sit and be, it’s ok. It is ok to just be. (Cue the Beatles; Let it Be… Mother Mary (Ann) comes to me… speaking words of wisdom, let it be!) Skip ahead to 5 min 30 seconds in this video clip! It’s awesome! I love Carpool Karaoke.

I (we) shouldn’t need the permission from anyone, however, it feels better if someone gives it to us, am I right?( It’s sort of like when you are shopping, it’s SO much easier to make a purchase when your friend or the sales clerk tells you ”Oh, you should so buy that! That looks adorable on you.”) So, in case you are having a difficult time giving it to yourself, I am giving you the permission. Just like the voice from my Mom will often give it to me.

Shut down days at the factory helped with employee burn out. They also allowed for scheduled maintenance on equipment. It freed time and space for a high level overview and analysis without the stress of output and number requirements being the main goal. And shut down yielded outcomes and results that ONLY a true shut down could provide.

I ask you then, “when is the last time you took a Shut down day? And actually, SHUT DOWN!” If you look at the results of what shut down can do for a factory/company; just think what it could do for you, your life, your family.

My next PeakJoy challenge is this – Part 1: Take a SHUT DOWN DAY friends. (Even a shut down half day would do) Take a flipping day off Moms, Dads, everyone. Even kids need it. A day where you don’t have to cross anything off that list. You don’t HAVE to work toward that goal. You don’t HAVE to get your exercise in. You don’t HAVE to meet a deadline or please your boss. You don’t HAVE to be social. Your laundry sits in the basket. The dishes sit on the counter. Really, it’s ok. Be the L word, yep LAZY! Sit your booty down. Or hop in the car and go roam Target aimlessly without some list you have to adhere to. Go get a massage, a pedicure. Watch “How to lose a guy in 10 days” while eating a can of Pringles and a pint, no GALLON of rocky road while sitting in a hot bubble bath. Click out of EVERY SINGLE OPEN TAB. ALL OF THEM. Or better yet, shut down your gosh darn computer all together. Part 2: DO NOT FEEL GUILTY!

Have you ever sat down or thought about what recharges you – gives you more energy? When is it that you feel like you can conquer the world? Whatever that is, THAT is what you do on shut-down day!

Schedule maintenance for yourself. Prevent the burn-out BEFORE it happens. Grab the pledge and wipe the dust off that portion of your mind!

I have found that it is sometimes in those moments that we allow ourselves to JUST BE, when our mind feels free of it all, that we gain some strength, energy, power, purpose that moves us MORE forward than anything else possibly could. So, in all seriousness, if time doesn’t allow an entire shut down day, at least make time for shut down moments, free of guilt.

Shut down. Recharge. Then… go get em’! AND if you would feel better getting a badge to indicate you have completed this challenge – here you go! I will wear mine with pride and honor! Cheers