On the heels of my recent LinkedIn post about corporate culture and how companies can focus on creating good office lives for their employees, there is a flip-side to share on the importance of downtime. Here, another summer weekend is at hand, and I am really looking forward to some time spent relaxing outdoors, especially. What do you do when you’re not at work?
Recently, I’ve spent so much time traveling that I really look forward to weekends at home as a way to rest, relax, and recharge. When I am in the office, my weekdays run late, and I often come home too late to eat a real dinner, even. The only true time to myself is the time I allocate to staying in shape, which I believe is critical for both health and productivity reasons. So when the weekend arrives, my husband and I follow a lovely, casual routine in which we take walks together, cook homemade meals with fresh produce from the farmers’ market, play some chess, maybe see a movie, and also bask in some time to ourselves to read, just to “be,” or to catch up on work and related publications. I try to restrict myself to no more than one social activity on these weekends, sometimes not even that, because it is really important to me to have obligation-free time in contrast to my obligation-heavy work schedule – and I also want to always have time to visit family. When I talk with friends who are successful executives and entrepreneurs, they share that they, too, value and protect their weekend time in similar ways.
When you are on the leadership team at a successful tech company, the idea of taking a true vacation away from it all is pretty unrealistic. Our environment is too fast-paced to afford much of a break! So I always have my phone and e-mail available when there is connectivity, and I’m usually connected. Fortunately, even vacations have luxurious weekends! During these times when we travel for pleasure, my family likes to go to places where we can experience a balance of culture, great food, and being pampered a bit during the summer, and, in the winter, we ski with our kids. I have friends who love cruising and those who prefer active, extreme travel. We all rejuvenate in different ways. Even if going on vacation isn’t a perfect break from all work, not being in the office, enjoying a different setting, and not having back-to-back meetings goes a long way to helping all of us to re-energize.
I’d love to hear your summer plans and what you do in your cherished personal time.