I’ve just completed a week of vacation successfully. Successfully? How hard is it to take a week of vacation? For some it can be more stressful to NOT work that to work. While I did have to work, I was still able to get the time away that I need to feel rejuvenated.
It’s important to get some time away and to relax. Before I leave for vacation, I’m usually at the point of burnout. I usually will get a pretty relaxing week on vacation. And when I get back I’m ready to step into work again. For me vacation is to the mind what sleep is to the body. When you wake up (or get back to the office etc) you feel refreshed and ready again to dive in to work.
But I want to talk about the value of work and the value of play. We can’t live life just working all the time. We’ll burn out and life will be hard and we’ll likely die younger. We can’t live playing all the time, cause if all we did was play we couldn’t take a vacation to play more. There must be balance.
The value of work: It doesn’t just provide an income but work…
- Gives us a sense of accomplishment
- It makes leisure activities more rewarding
- We learn new things
The value of play: I don’t think anyone will disagree with me here but play…
- Gives our mind a rest and a change of scenery
- Keeps us young
- Helps us laugh
Ok so now the we have that settled, I propose that not all activities labeled work, are actually work, and not all activities labeled play, are actually play.
There were a few times in my life when I felt this way. I remember a particular class I took in college, it was a computer design class and I really enjoyed it. I would be done with homework and hanging out with friends, but in my mind I would rather be back on the computer designing something. I enjoyed my work more than I enjoyed hanging with friends. Now, I’m not the best designer, I admit, so I haven’t made a career out of it. Work became play.
I ride motorcycles. When we go out for a long ride it’s really fun, but as the ride gets longer, the motorcycle seat gets harder and harder. The need to take a break climbs higher on the list of priorities until it becomes #1. Play becomes work.
My uncle says “Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” I’m not sure where he got the saying and Google doesn’t know either. Anyway, I will propose that those who are lucky enough to find a job they love still need to take a break. But the break isn’t as critical and doesn’t require the same rejuvenation as a break from work that is more difficult and intense.
Let me make one more point. I had a job at one point that was not taxing, as far as “work” goes. It was easy and most of the time it was fun. But there were days were I wouldn’t have anything to do. I would go home on those days and be ultra productive. I had needed something to do. I needed some work to do. I had gone to work and done nothing and came home to find I needed to create, fix, or rework something.
Life is a little different now, I’m so busy at work I need to come home to get a break.
Balance is important. Be mindful of what is work, and what is play. You need both in life. If you find taking time off is not satisfying are you really taking a break? Or is the job actually play?
If you are lacking satisfaction figure out what is “work”. Make sure you are actually working, if you are working and doing nothing at work. You are not working. You can’t leave and feel fulfilled at home by doing nothing. If this is you find “work” to do. It may be cleaning out a closet, or mowing the lawn. If you are working hard and take a vacation make sure to break away completely, let work stuff be work stuff, and play stuff be play stuff.
If you can make sure work and play labeled correctly, you may find the balance you are looking for.
What keeps you balanced?