Working toward Appreciating Downtime

by Michael Drew on February 25, 2016

Michael Drew · Creativity in Business · February 25, 2016

 Pendulum in Action, creativity in business, Super Bowl, entrepreneurPerhaps Super Bowl should be a national holiday. The recently played 50th edition of the game already attracted the attention of perhaps half of the nation. And with so many people already watching the game, preparing for it and, perhaps, suffering from a bit of excess the day after watching it (or fast-forwarding through it), it’s kind of a holiday without being one. It makes sense, doesn’t it to create another one? Super Ball falls near Chinese New Year, which a friend in Asia tells me is celebrated not only in Chinese but in many other Asian countries. Why not have Super Bowl Monday that’s celebrated all over North America? It’s not as if we couldn’t afford another day off.

I say this only half-facetiously. Most Americans (and Canadians) work too hard. Most Americans and Canadians realize this. But people think that working all the time will get them ahead.

I like to work, and in a way, I’m always on – (except when I’m watching certain sports events). But I also know I need to be off. This seems self-evident, but many people just don’t recharge.

As Shane Parrish says in his excellent decision-making and business-minded blog Farnam Street, “Your ability to get things done and be productive is not always a function of hours. Working more doesn’t always mean you’re working better or harder. It doesn’t mean you’re doing your best. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you’re going to live a more meaningful life.”

I kind of agree with him, even though I’m an entrepreneur who prefers to think that every waking moment needs to be moving me toward something. But Parrish has a point: most people who work all the time regret having worked all the time. And those who can share in moments with loved ones, reflect on the world around them, recharge their batteries, are actually more productive and happier.

I’m not sure if having another national holiday – or one built around the corporate megalith that is professional football – is a good thing. But having a personal holiday and appreciating it (even during a few minutes of precious down time during the day) can make the world better. I know: I’ve been married for going on nine months, and am now part of a “recomposed” family, and the time I spend with my family is increasingly important to me.

Not that I’m giving up looking to work out great ideas. But I realize the need for that one thing that eludes many a work-obsessed entrepreneur, and that having a family gives me: perspective.


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