In today's world, being busy is considered a good thing, which is better than slacking off. And is definitely needed to carve out our strengths in the early years of the career. The harder we work, the more we understand our limits, the more we improve our skills and the better suited we are for our long term aspirations.
However, I've come to realize through personal experience, that working hard all the time in mid-career is not such a good thing. I learnt this lesson the hard way when after many years of long work hours and no vacation, I realized one day that I was grinding through life. There was little foresight as to what 'big' thing I needed to work on, just that work had to be done. I felt I had buried myself into something taking me away from my long term goals.
It then took a difficult decision to break out and start a new venture. But now, with the new venture, I have learnt my lesson. Taking time off to assess and then recalibrate both my own compass's North as well as that of the Venture is now a thing. And I look forward to it every year now.
Each time I take time off, I come back with an additional zeal and a sense of purpose. And the work that I missed out, well, it just forces me to delegate. And that makes my day less tactical and more strategic. Another benefit is that it enables the organization to grow, it enables the team to pick up more responsibility and we all become better.
Still have a long way to go before I get it just right, but now the footings are right, or so I think, at least until my next vacation! So my lesson learnt here is: sandwich idle time into the craziness of daily work!
“Those who are wise won't be busy, and those who are too busy can't be wise.” ― Lin Yutang