How are we meant to go through life?
To be working and hustling, with periodic breaks for relaxation?
Or is it more natural to be doing nothing, to be strolling along a beach, with periodic interruptions for work?
I think, in the U.S. at least, the answer is pretty clear. We value the hustler, the person who is always busy. And we frown upon the person who is content to sit back, spend a day reading, and who puts his or her work on the back burner.
But what if we had it backward?
What if we spent our mornings reading a good book or having a nice long coffee chat with an old friend? And what if we stopped working before the sun went down and went for a nice walk or had a beer or two with a colleague?
Would the world suddenly grind to a halt if we all cut our work hours in half, and doubled our leisure time? Would we be in a panic, not knowing how to fill that leisure time? Or would your levels of stress melt away, and you end up building more meaningful relationships with people? Would you take advantage of such freedom to volunteer or work on a creative venture, like a daily blog?
As our workplaces and tasks become more automated, such questions are likely to become more relevant. We may find ourselves working fewer hours and having more idle time. Such a prospect may terrify some people, while others may embrace it.
I guess your reaction depends on what you think is our natural state – to be in work mode or in relaxation mode.
As for me, I think I would be quite content to start my morning with a workout, followed by a leisurely breakfast and then some reading. Afterward, I’d be happy to spend a few hours volunteering at a local school teaching kids how to read and do math. By then it would be time to find an outdoor cafe and have a drink or two with friends and family. The evening could then be spent watching a good movie or reading a good book and then cap it all off writing my daily blog.
That may sound a lot like someone’s vision of retirement, but why wait until then to pursue such a life?
I think we can build a job around such a lifestyle, instead of trying to build a lifestyle around our job.
Again, it comes down to your fundamental belief as to whether we are meant to spend our time working or enjoying our leisure time.
In the end, it’s all a matter of balance; most of us need to spend time working and relaxing.
The question is, which one is your priority?