Living and Giving

Leaders, Can You Take Time Off? What Silicon Valley Says, What You Say

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As I write here from Silicon Valley, I see so many people working 10 hour days and weekends. I often wonder, can we truly be productive? And more importantly, are we fulfilled?

Diligence is an important aspect of one’s life.


We should find a worthy endeavor and apply ourselves to it. Ideally it’s something we’re passionate about. Be it gardening, child rearing, accounting, philanthropy, eyeglass making, bassoonist, or mail carriers. We find joy in whatever our right purpose is.

Perhaps it is delivering the mail to those who appreciate hearing from a loved one, and being outside as you take your daily stroll to drop off letters. It might be having quiet time in a garden where you gently pack soil around the tender shoots of a new tomato plant. It could be the concrete satisfaction of knowing you have checked and verified all numbers and can deliver an excellent accounting report for your client. All of these are beautiful, worthy purposes. They help our world run smoothly. They also help nurture our soul, as we serve with kindness and excellence

Once we work a complete day, there should be time – to take some time. It might be that you read a book, cook a dinner for a friend, speak with a loved one, or take a walk.

So let’s look at your time. If you’re so burnt out from work, you might not be using it as effectively as you would like. Those types of activities are zoning out in front of the TV, spending two hours on Facebook, or going through numerous Groupons that you don’t need.

Is that the way to recharge?

Why is our time used that way? What’s happening is that you are working too much. Your energy is completely used up – every type of energy. There is no room for life.


There is a line: a border where one has worked hard and you can let it go. Yet,

you have enough energy to shift one’s energies.

You shift your energy to another positive endeavor. You’re still feeling alive, vibrant, and ready to do something. That might be reading a story to your child or watching a PBS documentary on jazz. Or it might be working on a new book, launching a design blog or starting a new company on toffee making!

So do you have time to take off? We do. Most of us are not a one-track person. We have varied ideas, interests and values. We need to explore these fully in order to realize who we are, to become our best, to be recharged.