I love "being in the zone" and feeling the enthusiasm for what I do professionally. I am blessed to be doing in life exactly what I want to do and (I believe very strongly) what God has called me to do. I have long been an advocate of hard work, maximum effort, and the full utilization of one's gifts. There are few things as sad as a wasted life.
However, in keeping with the theme of my latest book, A Month of Italy: Rediscovering the Art of Vacation, I have noticed that people who are hard chargers also seem to have a weakness: they have a difficult time grabbing the necessary down time in their lives. Or, in the cases where they do set aside time, they don't use it properly and to the greatest advantage. And finally, they don't establish restorative breaks as a matter of strategic habit. In essence, then, I feel that those of us who are driven in life need to be aware of the following three ways we mess up when it comes to the concept of "going slow in order to go fast." Here they are:
Strategically: First, people don’t seem to look at scheduled downtime as a valid productive strategy. It is as if there is a “leisure guilt” complex that holds people back from scheduling the time they need. Therefore, people are not intentional about scheduling breaks into their calendar. The result is an “I’ll get to it when I’m not so busy” mentality in which someday rarely comes as readily or as regularly as needed to truly maintain peak performance.
Properly: Second, people don’t seem to structure their downtime to produce the most restoration. Instead, they use it as a way to check the “visited family” or the “visited such-and-such an attraction” box. There is a correct way to spend your downtime to maximize your regeneration, and it needs to be tailored to the your individual needs and style.
Regularly: Third, breaks are not usually scheduled on a regularly occurring basis. We need to eat regularly, breath regularly, and even sleep regularly, then it certainly stands to reason that we need professional breaks regularly. But more often than not, official breaks occur only sporadically as more pressing professional matters allow (which is all too infrequently).
Don't become self indulgent, and never fall for the trap that pleasure is worthy as an end pursuit. However, also be careful not to ignore the needs of your body, mind, and soul to find rest and restoration in a constructive way.