Tell Your Boss You Need Leisure Time

Leisure TimeGet right up in her face and tell her you demand leisure time. Okay, that’s a bit much, but you can probably take some leisure time without being a jerk about it. It’s as simple as taking fifteen minutes here and two minutes there. There is a reason why people are addicted to smoking and it’s not just the nicotine. They get to go outside and take a break from all the stress. I find it funny to see a group of smokers huddled on a cold day, but they’re out there because it gives them a chance to have their nicotine and leisure time.

 

I discovered a great article in the NY Times “Why Leisure Matters in a Busy World.” The author Marci Alboher interviewed Alison Link, who believes that everyone must have some leisure time to work happy. It’s great to see so many people dedicated to helping others improve their work life.

 

Q. Why should we care about our relationship to leisure?

 

A. Too often, leisure time that is not used in a satisfying way turns into idle time, or is used to do a single thing to excess (like overeating, or getting into family quarrels). It can even turn negative, which is what happens often in the cases of substance use, delinquency and criminal activity. Also, wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t define ourselves by our work? It should be just as valid to define ourselves by our leisure.

 

We all need to take our health and happiness into account when we work. Many of us work so hard that we become ill or depressed. We need to have leisure in our life to keep our lives fun and energetic. If all we do is worry about work then what type of life is that? It’s a prison.

 

My second favorite question and answer was about feeling free. We all need to live our lives as if there are endless possibilities.

 

Q. So how do you explain all those people who don’t feel free in their lives?

 

A. Few of us really think about or plan for leisure. We think we should just go with the flow, but too often we end up feeling stressed, overwhelmed and unfulfilled. We need to plan for leisure — perhaps by doing one small thing every day, identifying long- and short-term leisure goals, putting enjoyable activities on the calendar — like we do other aspects of life. But before people start moving up leisure on the priority list, they need to appreciate and recognize the value and benefits of leisure, even when they have constraints (that may be internal or external). We all have obligations and other constraints that inhibit us from engaging in leisure that range from guilt to time or financial constraints. Yet the personal benefits and collective benefits short term and long term are worthwhile.

 

Click here to read the whole insightful article.

 

 

The mind needs to unwind and just have fun. There is a reason why kids are given time to eat and then run around the playground. They need to release their stress and so do you. You need to schedule in some leisure time every single day.

 

Here are 7 of my favorite leisure breaks:

 

  1. Take a long lunch break and go to a museum by yourself.
  2. Stretch at your desk for two minutes
  3. Meet with a friend who you normally don’t see for Lunch
  4. Breathe deeply for two minutes and nothing else
  5. Walk around the block
  6. Call your mother (only if she doesn’t stress you out)
  7. Read a fictional book during your break
  8. Write a Poem

 

It’s up to you to schedule in a little leisure time for yourself, so you will work happier and be more productive. Believe me, your family will thank you for destressing throughout the day instead of letting it all come out when you get home.

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Tomorrow I will be posting a short interview that Allison Link granted Work Happy Now. I asked her, “How does someone schedule in leisure time when they don’t have enough time to get everything done that their boss asks of them?

 

You’ll just have to tune in on Friday to find out her answer.

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Related Links:

 

 

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Photo courtesy of fcaballero

Comments

  1. This is a great site. I’m glad I found you from your updates on Twitter. Remembering to breathe is so important. Sometimes I will find myself literally holding my breath when I’m working. Now that I’m my own boss, I still need to ask my boss for time off. Thank you.

    Mike Chapman’s last blog post..Case Study: Engagement Turns Critics into Allies

  2. Oh no! Now I’m feeling pressure to use my leisure time efficiently! This rings pretty true, through. Doing something that’s actually refreshing (instead of just time-killing) in your leisure time is important to staying happy and focused.

    For me, listening to the right song can re-energize me, as can getting up and walking around the building (and, if I can get away with it and there’s no one around, dancing).

    Sara’s last blog post..Isn’t It Easier to Just Buy Stuff?

  3. When I worked for the Panama Canal Commission I had a great boss who basically let me do whatever I wanted as long as I got the work done. At different times during the day I would just sit back in my chair, close my eyes, and meditate for five minutes. If he just happened to come into my office while was having one of my meditation sessions he wouldn’t get upset. Of course, my work was of excellent quality and I always turned everything in on time. I think you first have to build a good reputation for yourself, and then your boss is much more likely to give you more leeway. I love the photograph of the dog relaxing :-) .

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Tap Into the Power of the Magician

  4. Hi Karl,

    Leisure time is important, and like you said, often you’ll see a group of smokers in the freezing cold – not necessarily enjoying that cigarette, but just enjoying a break. I’ve even seen non smokers huddled with the smokers.

    Just taking a little bit of time away from work does revive us to get back at it. I like to get up from my desk and make myself a glass of ice tea and take a few minutes to look out the window or walk outside and enjoy the fresh air and/or nature. I come back with a renewed perspective.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..The Law Of Attraction In Action

  5. @ Mike, I notice that I hold my breath too. I try to use this as a trigger to relax and enjoy my situation.

    @ Sara, I love to listen to music at work. Lately I’ve been partial to Neil Young. His old stuff just chills me out.

    @ Marelisa, we need to create a good relationship with our boss before we start taking some leisure time whenever we want. Once your boss sees that you are diligent and competent he/she will probably give you more leeway.

    @Barbara, it must have been a funny sight to see non-smokers huddled with the smokers out in the cold. I guess if that’s the only way they can get a break then it’s better than nothing.

  6. Great tips, Karl! All 8 of your leisure ideas make complete sense. One recommendation I would add is to mix things up a bit. Every time you take a break, do something different. It keeps the mind fresh and life a bit more interesting.

    Marc and Angel Hack Life’s last blog post..The 7 Habits of Highly Happy People

  7. @ Marc and Angel, it’s always good to mix up the routine. If a person can keep things fresh there is less chance for stagnation.

  8. I shoot basketballs or listen to music. Here’s an anology that I like: We are like a bow. If you keep the string on a state of constant tension, it will snap so in order to have the string last, you must release the tension.

    chris’s last blog post..Prom Night

  9. Sometimes it’s enough to spend 5 minutes to watch a short relaxation video. I usually find some at http://www.relaxwithnature.com
    After some of them I feel like I’m going to be able to handle anything that’s thrown at me now.

  10. Hey Wian, I checked out the video and that’s a great way to relax. Sometimes we need something to distract our attention and get us focusing on the beauty.

  11. This is a great article..I think that a lot of employers are more focused on their bottom lines nowadays-especially with the economy in near shambles. As a result, more people are working longer hours in order to assure themselves that they will have a job the next day. Additionally, a lot of employers (and people in general) view “leisure” time as simply being lazy. Every second of leisure enjoyed is another dollar wasted…I think that leisure is definitely something that needs to be mandated at many workplaces…especially to avoid burnout (as is common in writing professions), but how realistic of a goal is it when there are deadlines to meet and many places are understaffed?

  12. Great article. The picture of the puppy made me think of one of the ways I relax. Searching for pictures of animal and clicking through galleries seems to de-stress me a lot.

  13. It’s a nice article and i like it.I saw it while looking for some information about leisure time for my assignmen….and also the puppy oooh so cute…

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