How Much Is Downtime Worth to You

PHUKET – It’s been a couple of weeks since I last blogged, I’d been busy – we closed a large deal with a strategic customer. As usual I am taking a few days off in a place where I can relax and gather my wits. In enterprise sales, meaning selling to large clients, every day is a fight and you rarely have any downtime. I often find myself thinking of work even when I wake up in the middle of the night. Because your head gets alert when it starts to think about complex things, in just a few minutes you might go from completed addle brained to being painfully aware of the fact that you are now delving into a whole set of stratagems, with its feints and counter attacks. It seems just like yesterday when I’d fail to go back to sleep again, and would toss and turn for hours and hating myself for letting work intrude upon the most personal of my personal life – my sleep.

Now I am getting pretty experienced at what I do, but it really doesn’t mean it gets any easier. The natural tendency of smart and driven people is to seek out more and more challenging roles until they reach their ceiling per the Peter Principle. I am in my mid career right now, and I am still actively seeking out more challenges every day. This lifestyle is exciting and full of learning experiences,  but the down side is that I have to really think about spending time on myself and my friends and family. So this week is my time with the treasured people in my life. I went for a swim with my young daughter in the resort this morning, I don’t remember ever spending 3 hours in the water ever since college days, but this morning went by quick! Time flies when you are having fun, truly. What’s more, I found myself not thinking about anything else, time was just present, and I was in the Zone, the Zone of Fun. We played until my daughter got tired and wanted to go back to the room, this almost never happens! I can’t help smiling even as I type this right now.

So how much is downtime worth to me? I think this is probably the wrong question to ask. The right question is, how much is life worth to me? For all the problems in Europe, I think they got a lot of the big things right. Education, culture, family and leisure are important, so important that one is no longer human without them. I don’t want to spend all my life working. I want to spend a decent chunk of time playing water fights, eat hot and spicy Thai food, and drinking Johnnie Walker Blue Label by the pool. I want to live.

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