"Live Fast, Die Young!"

My wife considers me a workaholic. She complains a lot about me being unavailable for social activities. I had to promise her to change my behavior for the coming holidays, and do just nothing. The result of this new "freedom" was quite unexpected, and I want to share my experience with you.

In the Netherlands, we celebrate Queens-day, on April 30. This day is a Holiday for everyone, and we celebrate the birthday of the Queen. This year, it was on a Thursday, and my wife suggested, and more precise demanded, that I also would take off the next day, Friday May 1. Taking off for 4 days, including the weekend! What a waist of time!

My wife demanded that I would perform only ONE thing each day, just to make sure that I would not return to work as usual. Obviously, I obeyed her and the 1st day I walked leisurely around my premises: A walk of about 1.500 meters. Coming back, my wife made me sit down, and do nothing but staring around: Looking at our chickens, at some roe deer, at a few pheasants, and at all sorts of birds flying around. Actually, I got sick during that day: Doing nothing, eating nothing, and going to bed early. Lying awake all night, and feeling miserably.

The next day I walked around the home garden, performing little tasks like moving a plant to another location, mulching another and so on. And after that: gain just sitting and watching the day go by. That night I slept well.

The third day, I felt energy flowing back. Things that have been puzzling, and sometimes even bothering me long time seemed to have simple solutions. New ideas came spontaneously to my mind. This became a very productive day indeed, doing nothing at one end, and finding so many new solutions about how to proceed on the other hand!

Until now, I never realized so deeply that breaks are an essential part of everyday life. They help tear down walls in your mind, which probably got there because you are concentrating on one thing, and therefore purposely neglecting all the rest. Do you ever take a break and then I mean a real break, doing nothing what so ever?

My advice is to take a real break every now and then. Do something you really would not consider doing otherwise: Break out, and think out of your own solid closed box. Give your brains the opportunity to break internal barriers. And enhance the quality of your life!

Live slowly, and die old! Happy Holiday!

This blog is part of a series around tinkering:

This blog is part of a series on strategic planning:

  1. The Everlasting Rise and Downfall of Strategic Planning: Lessons Learned in More than 40 Years! (this blog)
  2. Driving Change: Drive Safely (My Checklist)
  3. "Live Fast, Die Young!"
  4. The Benefits of an Aligned Supply Chain (and How to Realize That...)
  5. How Many Customers Did You (re)Win This Year?

Results2Match has a strong vision on successful business strategies and result driven implementations.

This blog is written by Hans Lodder. Hans is a very experienced change management consultant and interim manager. You can contact Hans through his Results2Match email address.

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