If You Can’t Find Time For Recreation, Sooner Or Later Your
Body Will Make Time For Illness
You may be proud of how hard you work and how much work you
accomplish. I know I am. But I also know there’s a limit.
You and I can’t keep on working, day and night, five-six-
seven days a week forever. Eventually, the body will say
“enough is enough”.
Years ago there was a saying that “all work and no play
makes a person dull. “Today, it’s probably more accurate to
say that “all work and no play makes a person dead. “In
fact, Japan has a special government program to compensate
widows and widowers whose spouses literally work themselves
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find time for recreation.
We’re all so busy these days. There’s more work than ever
and fewer people to do it. And, to make it even more
difficult, companies tend to reward people whose lives are
totally out of balance. They’re given more respect and
So what should you do if you’re feeling overwhelmed,
stressed out, burned out, or off balance? First, realize
you’ll never be finished, and that’s okay. No matter how
hard you work, you’ll never get it all done. Even on the day
you die, there’ll still be a few things in your in box you
didn’t get to.
Perhaps you were raised like I was. My father always said
“First you work, then you play. Get all your work done, and
then you can relax. “While that’s not bad advice, it is
irresponsible advice in today’s world. You and I will never
be done, and we must realize that’s okay. It really is.
Once you accept that, the second thing you must do is
schedule some recreation. It sounds strange to put some free
time or fun time on your calendar, but I’ve learned if it’s
not on the calendar, it doesn’t happen. So plan some time
and then take some time for recreation before you end up
And finally, refuse to be proud of your busyness. As Lee
Iacocca said, “Over the years, I’ve had many executives come
to me and say with pride: ‘Boy, last year I worked so hard
that I didn’t take any vacation. ‘It’s nothing to be proud
I always feel like responding: ‘You dummy. You mean to tell
me that you can take responsibility for an $80 million
project and you can’t plan two weeks out of the year to go
off with your family and have some fun…?’”
Action on work-life balance:
This week put an hour of recreation on your calendar.
Schedule an activity that you will do just for the health of
it. The only criterion you must follow is that whatever you
choose, it must be something that will make you feel re-
created or re-energized afterwards.
Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman