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The Utility of Leisure


As we are now turning the corner into the latter part of the summer, I think it's a good time to weigh in on a topic that has been on my mind, which is the value of down time and relaxation for the human mind.

Now I must confess that at times I have been critical (most often internally, almost never out loud) about our country's massive entertainment industry, all the billions of dollars we spend on electronic media, sports, gambling, games and amusements. While those things fuel the economy they also encourage a consumerism that at times can get out of hand. I am certainly not the only one who has seen too many smart phones held aloft at concerts (or heads buried in them, oblivious to the world at large), acquaintances gushing about characters in TV programs as if they were real people, or strangers commenting about the hat of a sports team they don't like.

So let me give my self-righteousness a rest for a moment. Lately I have been seeing the advantages of leisure activities in my own life. As a solo entrepreneur I find it difficult to juggle the things I want and need to do. Since I don't have a corporate structure I have to answer to, each day I have to decide for myself what tasks I want to tackle, whether business or personal (the lines between them can blur). At any given moment I could be working on research or writing, attending to my business tracking and records, or doing errands or chores. I often get a nagging feeling related to "unfinished business" shall we say.

Which is why the times I can step away from that bewilderment are helpful. In fact I think I am getting better at shifting between serious work and more pleasurable pursuits. I just can't get carried away with the latter; that's when guilt can set in, admittedly. Bit by bit I am striking a good balance, I think.

In closing I hope all of you are taking time this summer to relax and enjoy your favorite hobbies and pastimes, whatever they may be. We are, after all, in a slow time for our industry. Hopefully you get fully recharged and come back to the office energized and motivated!




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