PRA offers all staff members the opportunity to take a Day of Reflection (DOR) each calendar year. According to our employee handbook, “This day is meant to encourage employees to take the time to reflect on career planning, goal setting, and/or other job-related personal activities, typically on a solo basis.” Reflecting on 2020-2021 would be a complicated knot to unravel, so I used my DOR to prepare for my annual review. Since PRA structures our yearly reviews with a series of reflective questions and goal-setting templates, I used those as prompts throughout my DOR.

Though a tiny house getaway is on my list for next year, I decided to personalize my DOR around wellness and art. I began my day by setting up my “art space.” I cleared the kitchen table and gathered my iPad, journal, pens, and colored pencils. I pulled up photos I had taken on trips I was fortunate enough to experience in Massachusetts and Maine on my laptop. During those trips, I felt relief and removal from work, expectation, and productivity. Waking up in a room where my “office” wasn’t one step away from my bed was a gift. My mind was free to relax and function beyond the abstraction of remote work: no Zoom, no Microsoft Teams, no Outlook notifications.

That summer, I had taken photos of these giant clusters of green growth that occupied hills of sand and bordered paths to the ocean. I was curious how these plants could thrive so lusciously as if out of nowhere. Somehow small evergreens, daisies, and various brush and flora emerged from a mosaic of sand, driftwood, and seashells. I used these images to inspire and ground my reflection.

When I draw, I am “away” for a time, focusing my attention and curiosities on discovering a vision I want others to see and understand. I spent the day in intervals—drawing for 90 minutes and journaling for 30 minutes. When I switched from drawing to journaling, my hope was to channel that headspace into answering my annual review questions more deeply and authentically and exploring any potential concerns or intentions I should share. For me, these answers and feelings are difficult to conjure on demand, and I found that alternating between these modes of expression eased me into a flow of undistracted exploration.