November 2, 2007, 7:00 am

Take Your Time And Relax

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous,Personal Finance
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relax coffee shop Us, North Americans, we are a funny creature. When you think about it, we keep working, working, working and finally working. We use lame excuses as “I want to get a promotion” or “I want to offer my family what they need”. Everything is good enough to keep us at work and do overtime.
There was an interesting article written by The Digerati Life where studies show that Americans tend to not take their vacation for many reasons. I’ll let you read the article as I am heading another way today. In fact, this morning, I experienced something very interesting; I had a coffee.

Clear up your mind

Once you have starting to relax, a very strange phenomenon will start happening. All your ideas, problems and concerns will come around your mind and things are going to get clearer. As you brain process all the information sitting there, you are classifying and deleting whatever is crossing over your mind. This is a very powerful cleaning process. Sometimes, things are being hold in your mind and you can not function properly until you deal with this matter. While you are relaxing, you will definitely prioritize what you have to take for.

Find new solutions

This is especially true in regards to financial problem. When you are in your day to day activities, you tend to not see the forest behind the tree. You may think that you can not afford wasting your time drinking a coffee or listening to music for an hour. You are wrong. This time you are taking for yourself will put you in a peaceful state of mind. Once you are away from all your problems, solutions will just arrive as you are finishing your delicious vanilla latte.

Become more productive

Then again, it is all related to the cleaning process. Taking time to relax and think about everything and anything at the same time will recharge your battery. It happens on a regular basis that we are literally consumed by what is occupying our mind. This drains down our energy level and we are not able to work at our full potential. You need this extra time to get everything together.

Once I left the Second Cup on that day, I just felt much better about myself. I had the time to solve some issues, to prioritize my agenda and to do some financial planning. All of those realizations done within sixty minutes contributed to give me a big boost of energy for the rest of my day. Alright, my coffee is getting cold and my cookies simply disappeared from my plate. I guess it is time to go back to reality and start working!

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Comments

Great post – it’s hard to balance trying to be productive and getting a lot done with trying to relax a bit which can add to your productivity.

Mike

From your previous posting I know that you are Canadian, and a Quebecer in fact. Did you know that Quebecers, as a group, are below the Canadian average in terms of economic productivity. And Canadians are behind Americans (the other North American country) in productivity. I’m with you, that we all need some good relaxation, but I think there are some people who relax a little too much.

How many weeks of vacation do you get? How many weeks of maternity leave does your wife get? Compare that to the US and it’s night and day. I don’t want to work like that because I work to live, not live to work, but I’m quite concerned because it’s working that keeps our lifestyle up; not relaxing! You know what’s doubly concerning is the number of people leaving the workforce due to retirements. That means the people who are left will need to support them in a way, if not financially then at least produce all the things they will continue to consume.

It’s weird to say. But I believe that us Canadians, don’t produce enough compared to our American neighbors. And sooner or later it’s gonna come back and bite us in the ass. The way I see it, I’m 29 years old. Single, still living at home, no major expenses, now is the time for me to put in 50-60 hours of work a week not when I’m 50 with 2-3 kids and a mortgage.

Yeah guys, FB is definitely Quebecois, but when it comes to this, he’s not incorrect. There’s a long-term cost to working 60 hour weeks. If the physical health of the average American doesn’t demonstrate this cost, I don’t know that will.

What’s more, productivity is not linearly related to time spent, especially in the knowledge worker field. Productivity goes in jumps and starts. Unless people are performing mindless tasks, then there is a decreasing benefit with overtime work. And if they are performing mindless tasks, guess what, that won’t last for long, they’ll just be automated away!

But I believe that us Canadians, don’t produce enough compared to our American neighbors. And sooner or later it’s gonna come back and bite us in the ass.

You’re right, we don’t produce as much, but given the impending crises in the US, I don’t think that we really want to follow their model. And though I respect hard work:

now is the time for me to put in 50-60 hours of work a week

This same reasoning could be extended to justify additional education or all kinds of things. I mean, you’re putting in 50-60 hours in an attempt to “get ahead”, but at some point you plan on reaping those benefits. Of course, the very nature of working OT is that it tends to get you promoted in to positions with a pay increase and (lo and behold) the ability to work even more OT.

Working OT to make your next pay level is basically a one-way street: you generate more money for your company in the hopes that they will pay you more money at your next pay raise. Of course, if that falls through, the whole investment is shot. This is especially true if you’re on salary, b/c every extra hour that you work means that you earn less per hour and they earn “free money”.

Unless your OT is your only source for education, why not just work 40 hour weeks and spend 10-20 hours / week on additional training? (like FPs MBA or Project Management courses or industry certifications) Now, instead of making more money for your company, you’re generating more potential for yourself and you’re diversifying. If the job goes downhill or the company fails, you now have all of this education to help you find the next job.

Unless you’re a workaholic your goal is to earn more money / hour (not less). So why not maximize your potential?

by: The Financial Blogger | November 2nd, 2007 (6:52 pm)

FP, I think that most people sit down on their ass and don’t do much. This is where is the problem. People should actually use this time correctly as I mentioned in my post, not just watching stupid reality TV shows ;-D

CR, I must say that I am spoiled as a Quebequer. I have 4 weeks of vacation (plus some extra days it goes up to 5). My wife get 1yr maternity while I got 5 weeks as well. For once, I know why that my Gov takes 50% of my paycheck! I do not really care if we are less productive than the rest of the continent. In fact, I think it is a good thing for me so it is easier to look better in front of your boss 😉

Joe, I do not think that working harder will get you higher. You have to work smarter 😉 Gates is making a good point where you should invest in yourself and your education better than working OT. If you do not like school, you are better off starting a side line project. Who knows, you might end-up making twice your income in a few years.

Gates, it’s always a pleasure to read your comments :-0 I definitely think that people need to take breaks and enjoy life. Work to live, that sounds just right!

Gates: Someone has to produce everything we consume. No company that sticks around produces stuff just to have it lie on the ground. If we don’t feel like working then someone else, hungrier than us, will. The “work smarter” people create machines to replace people and figure out ways of sending the work to China where the hungry people are.

I definitely want to be a work-smarter person, but what I also know there are other work-smarter people who also work hard for a double whammy!

by: The Financial Blogger | November 4th, 2007 (8:55 am)

I am not really afraid of the present situation. Remember that in the early 1900’s most economists were predicting the end of the capitalism for North America as several people were leaving the agriculture to move towards manufactures. They were saying that we would never be able to produce enough food if we continued that way. Guess what, we only use 4% of our land for agriculture and we produce more than we can eat!

People like to scare or to be scared, this is the nature of the beast ;-D