Leisure boosts

by 10 Jul 2007

By the time you read this column, I should be carving up a mountain in New Zealand – or at least brushing snow out of my beanie and off my face, while my seven-year-old son giggles uncontrollably at the gap between his father’s perception of his ability and the reality.

I’m not writing about this to make you jealous; well all right, maybe just a little. Rather, I’m writing about this as I have been reflecting on the impact an imminent holiday has on my whole being.

I fairly bounded out of bed this morning and headed off to the gym prior to coming to work. I’ve been – I’m told – annoyingly chirpy for a Monday morning and have been attacking my list of tasks with some verve.

Like many of you, I’m sure, now is the time for you to take a holiday because it’s school holidays, and coming from a family where both parents work, it’s easier to take leave when the kids are off school rather than work out alternative child-minding activities.

The point that I’m trying to make is that having something to look forward to has an amazing effect on your whole mind and body. I’m sure I’m not alone when I marvel at the energy that’s suddenly on tap when I’m not working, or about to be not working.

Usually when I go on holidays I drink more than usual, I certainly eat more than usual and yet I almost invariably come back a few kilos lighter than when I departed. The answer has to be that my whole metabolism kicks up quite a few gears. Oddly enough, I genuinely love my work and value my time in the office, yet there’s absolutely no doubt that I reach a higher level when I’m on holidays.

Now I’m not going to go as far as Ricardo Semler does in his book The Seven-Day Weekend, in which he argues that we should seamlessly integrate our work and private lives into one big constant time of happiness. After all, it’s easy when you own your own multimillion dollar corporation and can make your own rules up on the fly, completely unencumbered by time sheets.

However, I do believe that we should all make an effort to try and stay not too far away from whatever it is that we do outside of work – not only for our own good, but for the good of the organisations we work for, even if we do own it. And that’s all I’m saying.