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Can leisure be lucrative or just lazy?

Lots of us look down on leisure pursuits as wasted time, especially when we examine how we spend our own days. Do we give ourselves license to loll awhile? Or are we our own hardest taskmasters?

Sure, some of us may need kicks in the pants to get us up and running, if we take the down-time thing to an extreme. But plenty of us maybe don’t spend enough time in activities or even quiet moments that help us to decompress after a hard day (or week) at work or on the job hunt trail.

Scottish author and clergyman George MacDonald (1824-1905) said this about leisure:

“Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness.”

Not exactly a slouch or sluggard, eh?

MacDonald is popularly known as the author of The Diary of an Old Soul, The Light Princess, Lilith, Phantastes, The Princess and the Goblin, and Unspoken Sermons.

As a self-employed freelancer, I have experienced the constant beckoning of the unfinished project and the to-do list. I know the draw of the one-more article that begs to be written before I knock off for the day. And I have wrestled with the desire to juggle additional assignments, even when my hands are full, just because the extra work spells added income, portfolio content, or strategic networking.

There’s never enough time to finish it all.

But maybe that’s the point. Sometimes I think I work harder and better and stronger after carving out a short, but reasonable, break. Even in busy seasons, this is critical. If I don’t, I can get bogged down in details, buried in drudgery, or burned out altogether.

Maybe MacDonald was onto something. Sacred idleness can be time well spent. Ceasing work for a short spell might make us more productive and creative.

I’m not logging off to spend a month in a hammock, ignoring deadlines and other responsibilities. But a weekend excursion or an occasional afternoon off may just pay rich dividends. It’s all about balance, right?

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