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Senior Correspondent

The weather forecasters got it right last week. It did snow … and snow … and snow. Schools and businesses closed for a day right at the beginning of the week. Schedules were interrupted, and many of us were the recipients of a gift — a day with no plans. Kids pray for these days and know exactly what to do with them when their prayers are answered. We grown ups? Not so much.

This was one of those definitive snows when you knew the night before what would be canceled. Those are the best.

Knowing that our leadership classes through the college would be canceled the next day, we began to get into the spirit of snow day the night before. No alarms would be set. Breakfast would be civilized, leisurely even. We could do some household chores and get off to a slow morning start. We would take our beagle, Katy, on a walk in the snow in the middle of the day and enjoy all the action at the bird feeders. Hot chocolate would be perfect for our afternoon break. We found ourselves looking forward to the snow day rather than being anxious about the inconveniences that come along with a winter snow storm.

And the next morning, sure enough, the dark, weary winter days gave way to a beautiful white snowscape. We awoke to the perfect snow day, and we were prepared to make the most of it. Instead of directing our attention to client activities, we focused inwardly on our business and the list of important on-the-business tasks waiting patiently to be accomplished.

The snow day came and went. Roads and streets were efficiently cleared, and soon it was back to business as usual. But the snow day gave many of us a much needed time out. We had a day to spend on important rather than urgent things.

While we make our plans and prepare and organize and re-organize, we can easily become attached to our routine. We can even become rigid or closed-minded in our thinking. What might we be missing that's even better than we had planned? My mom, the consummate planner and logistician, is fond of saying, "Why, this turned out better than if we had planned it."

The spirit of snow day stayed with me the rest of the week and into the weekend. It reminded me of the necessity of scheduled time outs — even machines are treated to a little preventative maintenance. We need to make sure we are treating ourselves with the same care and respect. Nature must know that we all need a snow day now and then, and Mother Nature knows best!

What time outs do you have scheduled for yourself? If the answer is none, immediately go to your calendar and schedule time for yourself over the next week, month or quarter — and don't wait for Mother Nature to do it for, or to, you!

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