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Everyone knows that they should work, and work hard, for the things they find meaningful and desirable in life. In fact, those among us who have a naturally entrepreneurial kind of disposition may well be addicted to working as hard and as much as possible.
It’s certainly not uncommon these days to find people who are working themselves to the very brink of exhaustion on a daily basis.
While work and effort are essential in life, however, they absolutely must be counterbalanced with downtime and relaxation — even if that idea makes you feel lazy deep down. Just as a hotel would order wholesale bath towels of the highest quality to provide an extra degree of comfort to their customers, so too should you invest in items and pastimes that add a touch of comfort to your own life.
Here are just a few reasons why it’s important to balance effort and work with downtime and relaxation.
Working flat out will cause you to crash and burn sooner or later
Perhaps the first reason why you need to balance effort and work with downtime and relaxation, is a logistical one. Specifically; you can only work flat out for so long before you crash and burn completely. This is true in essentially every domain of life.
Take the example of exercise. Someone preparing for a marathon doesn’t try to run a marathon distance each day. To do so would result in rapid injury, overtraining syndrome, perhaps even a potentially lethal condition such as rhabdomyolysis. Instead, the trainee marathon runner runs varying distances throughout the week, at various intensities, while also including rest days for recovery.
Balance your work with rest so that you can stay healthy and functional, and work again later, if for no other reason.
Productivity isn’t everything — you also want to take pleasure in the simple things and be a positive force in the lives of your loved ones
We live in an age where everything is more or less defined by corporate values, such as productivity and KPI goals. While productivity is great, however, it does not represent the sum total of life.
By working obsessively, all the time, you may be very productive in one domain of your life — likely your career — but what are you sacrificing in the meantime? Time with your family? Interesting hobbies? Sleep? Fitness?
In all likelihood, you don’t just want to be productive. You also want to take pleasure in the simple things, and be a positive force in the lives of your loved ones. A bit of downtime and relaxation allows you to do that, and also helps you unwind and makes you better company.
A bit of relaxing and downtime is important for gaining — and maintaining — perspective
When you’re living life at a hundred miles per hour, there isn’t a lot of time to stop, take a deep breath, look around you, and consider the course you’re on. Instead, you just need to keep the pedal to the metal and focus on the road ahead.
But life is more complex and nuanced than any one plan or path might encapsulate. And a bit of relaxing downtime is important for gaining, and maintaining, perspective.
Relax appropriately, and expand your perspective on life.