“All work and no play make Johnny a dull boy”, the old saying goes. Many people adapt this line to fit what they see as their reality: “Too much play and not enough work make Johnny a poor one.” They justify working all the time, with few vacations and little time off. When they retire, they have a problem, as they have not established a good balance of work and leisure.Leisure time recharges you and can make you more motivated and focused at work. However, many small business owners with a strong work ethic consider planning for leisure time a luxury they cannot afford. Ironically, they may waste time by almost welcoming distractions, but never schedule much time off with their families, for a vacation, or a for day of down time. It is easy to justify this when you are working building a business, trying to make it in a tough economy, working with a down-sized staff. You think that when you retire, it will be different.You assume you will travel, socialize, and pursue hobbies in retirement. Unfortunately, old habits die hard. Folks who work 24/7 find new jobs, start businesses, or get into a pattern of heavy volunteering that take all their time when they retire, so they still have little time for leisure. Unquestionably, sacrifice is part of owning a business – but business ownership is supposed to eventually allow you more flexibility and more time to pursue your interests.If you are thinking of retiring, in 10 years, 5 year, or 1 year, the time is now to consider whether there is balance in your life between work and leisure. How do you start?Start introducing “time outs” into your schedule. This may begin with lunch out of the office. This sounds simple, but you need to take time away from the office, with no work multi-tasking. Join a gym or a team or a club and make time to go.Make “dates” with your spouse or significant other. Begin the discussion of what you want your retirement to be. You may have different ideas, but when you talk, you can work out a plan so each of you have the retirement you want.Set boundaries. With the prevalence of smart phone and instant internet, you can always be on duty unless you turn off you phone and ignore messages at night or when you are busy.Find something you want to try, explore it, and enjoy it – without making it a job. It is never too late to develop a new hobby or change your ways, but if you are obsessive about work, you may approach hobbies the same way to become a fishing or photography zealot. You need to work to change your patterns.Take vacations, starting with some long weekends, where you leave your job behind. Good planning should make this work. When you return and find the place still standing, you will build the courage to take more time off – and leave the office behind when you shut out the lights.You do not have to make a choice between being a”dull boy” or a”poor boy,” even in retirement. Developing a healthy balance between work and leisure before you get to that point will position you to enjoy your post retirement days and may even make your work years more enjoyable and productive.
Have you always wanted to write a novel, or perhaps you have many ideas and stories in your brain which you’d like to get out. Well then, if you are sure which novel you want to write, and you have many stories, maybe you can combine them into one, perhaps you should turn them all into short stories in a book. Then after you create these short story you can determine if it is worthy of a full-length novel. If it is worthy of developing the characters, setting the scene, and really getting into something of value, you can proceed.Now then, you must be perfectly honest with yourself when you do this, you must realize that not every brief story that you create, or every idea that you have needs to be a novel. There are millions of people who have written novels, and most of them aren’t very good, and the ones that are really great, are well worth the time spent in reading. Some are even so good they should be made into full-length movies, which is another thought entirely.So when do you decide to go for it and lengthen your brief story into a full-length novel? And when should you decide that perhaps it does much better as a short story, because it tells a quick lesson, and that’s really what you had intended anyway then the other option makes sense. You see, all this depends on your own mind, and if you can have multiple chapters of such a short story which can be lengthened. Most importantly, it pays to create the brief story and see if people really like it, and I don’t just mean your family. I mean critics, literary critics literally.If you have a very short story, perhaps under 10-pages that you would like someone to go over and read, I am available for that because I am retired. Perhaps we can kick around the idea, offer a few suggestions, and let you do some soul-searching upon consideration of such. Indeed I hope you will please consider this.