The Official Blog of Mike Rayburn

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The Insidious Lure of Workaholism and The Divine Concept of 24/6

Take a Break!

Umpteen years ago I cut my teeth as an entertainer playing a rough bar in Virginia called the Royal Lee Delicatessen. My passionate, loyal supporters would pack the place every show and I played long sets full of music and mayhem.

There was one regular, however, who didn’t care for my music. After a while he would yell, “Take a break!” The others would shout him down but that phrase always stuck with me: Take a break.

It turns out, taking a break, time off, vacation time, and just tuning out for a while is mandatory component of productivity, time management, and both physical and mental health. You MUST take a break. More often than you think.IMG_5869

Our bodies need to rest and regenerate. Our minds need to clear themselves, wander and ponder. Our souls need to reconnect with their source. And there are more important things in life than work.

Taking time away is one of the foundational elements of becoming a “Life Virtuoso.” 

Our society reveres to a fault workaholism and achievement. When we say, “That guy is a workaholic” we mean it as a compliment. There is, however, a big difference between workaholism and work-ethic. Having a great work ethic – showing up early, working hard, working smart, taking healthy pride in your work – is imperative. Living your life for work while neglecting your relationships, health and spirituality is a prescription for a shallow and short life. (I usually don’t preach but this time I am. Sorry).

Workaholism is a seductive lure; the insidious pitfall of those dedicated to excellence. 

This point is so important and it’s truth is so universal, it is in one way or another required in every major religion. The best example I know is in the Bible’s ten commandments. One of them is “Remember the sabbath by keeping it holy.” One day per week we’re told to rest. God is commanding us to work 24/6. This ranks as highly as telling us not to murder, steal or commit adultery. In other faiths this point is equally revered.

Easy Action Steps… 

So, how do you know if you’ve crossed the line from “work-ethic” to “workaholic?”

1. You probably already know. Where do you spend most of your time? Are your relationships compromised by your physical or emotional absence due to work?

2. Ask the three most important people in your life, and tell them you’re not going to respond, you’re just going to listen. Make it safe for them to tell you the truth.

3. Plan the year of vacations in January and don’t change them. Take one day off per week, a weekend away every two-three months, and two-four weeks of vacation every year. And when you come home be home, leave work at work.

I know this because I have been guilty of it. If I can change, you can, too. I am writing to you from a ski vacation with my family at Brian Head Resort, Utah. Oh, don’t worry, I’m writing as my family is sleeping, these tips are fun for me, and I’m shutting down right now.   -Mike


2 Responses

  1. Mike, this is golden. Without regular mental health breaks, we can’t expect to function at a high level. Every once in awhile, you need to reclaim your sense of self. One of my favorite proverbs is, “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

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