Balance? What Balance?
If you read much about being an effective leader you will undoubtably run across the siren's call to have balance in your work-life. Many have ballyhooed the need for, and the benefits of, regular downtime . . . yes, regular, scheduled, time away from the frenetic activities of your business or career.
I must admit this goes against everything I have been conditioned to do. You see I come from Northern European stock, I live in the agricultural midwest, from a small town, from parents who grew up on a farm and lived through the depression. I was taught, although not explicitly, that you "work first then play." I also learned to always ask myself the question, "Am I working hard enough?" The catch, of course, in this doctrine being that their is always more work that could be (should be?) done. In addition, I am an "overly-socialized" eldest son. I am inclined to, and in fact often relish, the practice of doing too much not doing too little.
I subject you to all this personal self-assessment to help you appreciate the impact of this next bit of news . . . . I am writing this while enjoying the sea-side pleasure of the Bay of Plenty in lovely, Tauranga, New Zealand. Why is this relevant? Well, first of all, I can tell you I haven't entirely escaped my conditioning. I am working. Partially. Partially working that is. Oh, about half the time more or less. I'm here to teach--which I dutifully do each week. But, I am also here to be free from the demands of my average life and work.
I have noticed, maybe you can relate, that since I started this mini-sojourn into balance that many of the niggling "ailments" that are with me daily at home simply "did not make the trip" . . . those small physical maladies, anxious thoughts and worries, the daily irritations of pressing matters that are not getting resolved to my satisfaction or timetable. It's a nice reminder, once again, that we need rest. Emotionally and physically.
Yes, soon I'll be back home and the toils of life will be resumed. Soon I may have some of those niggling ailments to battle. Still, I have a sneaking suspicion that if I was "forever on holiday" I would somehow, step by step, turn it into the same "daily grind" from which I am currently sensing such relief.
But . . .
But for now, I have the pleasure of a walk on the beach, a nice supper, and good companionship to look forward to. Tomorrow, it may be a trip to Hobbiton. Or a visit to Wairere Falls. I can feel my creativity, my curiosity, my joy of life--all the "pleasant humors of my soul" stretching out, loosened from their bounds, and leaping into the vast blue sky.
So, yes, count me in . . . I guess downtime is a good thing.