Posts Tagged ‘Puritan’

We Americans sure do love to work. We wear our toil like a badge of honor. I imagine we can thank the Pilgrims for that. The Puritan work ethic they brought with them on the Mayflower has created a country of workaholics who define themselves by the work they do.

That is great if what you are doing is what you love and is an extension of who you are. But for most Americans that is probably not the case. They are working to survive rather than have their work be an expression of who they are and what they are passionate about.

If only the Puritans left their work ethic in England and sought work freedoms along with religious freedoms. But alas, here we are; constantly ranked among the Top 10 hard working countries in the world taking little or no vacation time. We work more and more hours each week and statistics point to us becoming more efficient and productive. But doesn’t that mean we should be working less hours not more?

Well, here’s a secret to propel your work to the next level and truly boost your efficiency, productivity and happiness at work —

Take a vacation!

As much as we might hate to admit it, our bodies are not that much different from machines. And with any machine, if you do not perform regular maintenance on it, it will break down.

Stephen Covey, the leadership guru and author of Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, refers to this concept as “sharpening the saw”. Essentially, he points out that if we take the time to sharpen our saw, we can cut a lot more wood. If we don’t take that time, then the teeth of the saw will get dull and have little or no effect in the cutting process, thus forcing us to work harder.

So, as contradictory as this may sound, if you want to get ahead of your colleagues and business competition, take a vacation! Refresh yourself, your ideas, and your perspective. I have no doubt that in doing so, you will find that when you return the quality and efficiency of your work will improve.

Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live.

                                           – Margaret Fuller

Perhaps the most important thing you can do this summer is take a vacation . . . or engage in any other activity that will refresh your soul and sharpen your saw. That may be making time for regular exercise. Or spending time with family. Or reading. Or watching movies.

Whatever it is, be sure to make the time during these fleeting moments of summer to do the one or two things that just light you up and fill your soul with joy. The return on investment will be 10 times that of any additional time you might spend at the office working.

If you want to see how overworked we are compared to the rest of the world, check out this site: We Love to Work!

Photo credit: Malcom Fitzgerald

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