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Home > Management Tutorials > MANAGING LEISURE TIME
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MANAGING LEISURE TIME
 
MANAGING LEISURE TIME
(Part -3 of Time Management - Ken Shah, Prof. Param J. Shah)
[Part- 2 The 24 hour Schedule Part - 3 Managing Leisure Time Part - 4 Time use schedule Part 5 Assessing your ability Part 6 - Sharing Your Time Management Skills ]
 

Old Bureaucrat, my comrade, it is not you who are to blame. No one ever helped you to escape… Nobody grasped you by the shoulder while there was still time. Now the clay of which you were shaped has dried and hardened, and naught in you will ever awaken the sleeping musician, the poet, the astronomer that possibly inhabited you in the beginning. - Antoine de Saint Exupery

In 1968, Stewart Wolf noted that there is a relationship between leisure and mental health just as there is a relationship between leisure and physical health. He identified the inability to derive satisfaction from leisure activities as one of the contributing factors in heart disease and sudden death. John Howard, of the School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, found that people who handle tension effectively have developed a good division between work time and leisure time.

The purpose of this chapter is to help you to develop a balance between work time and non-work time, to improve the quantity and quality of your leisure time, and to increase the satisfaction you derive from your leisure.

a. DEFINING LEISURE

I wanted to start this chapter with a definition of leisure, but I didn’t realize what a difficult task that was until I started reading through the literature and found that up to one-third of some of those texts are devoted to the topic. Instead, following are several definitions of and quotations about leisure to encourage you to develop a personal definition of what leisure is.

  • “Leisure is a state of mind.” - Old Greek definition
  • “Leisure is a state of being in which activity is performed for its own sake.” – Aristotle
  • “You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a lifetime of conversation.” – Plato
  • “Man does not cease to play because he grows old; man grows old because he ceases to play.” – George Bernard Shaw
  • “Work is whatever a body is obliged to do… Play is whatever a body is not obliged to do.” – Mark Twain
  • “…There runs a persistent belief that all leisure must be earned by work and good works. And second, while it is enjoyed it must be seen on a context of future work and good works.” – Margaret Mead
  • “Leisure is the portion of time which remains after work and basic requirements for existence have been satisfied.” – James F. Murphy
  • “Lacking an understanding of leisure, many of us become more and more alienated from life and from ourselves.” – Alexander Reid Martin
  • “There was a time when we could sit and listen to our individual, internal rhythms, but now they can hardly be heard over the din of the mechanical clocks set up by school and business and society. Now we have commuting and TV, three-day weekends, and twelve-hour workdays, March migraines and April ulcers, twenty-one-year-old addicts and forty-five-year-old heart attacks.” –Dr. George Sheehan

To determine what leisure means to you, complete the leisure survey in Exercise # 14.

b. LEISURE ASSESSMENT

To begin assessing the quantity and quality of your leisure time, take another look at Exercise # 9 in chapter 3. How close in size are the wedges representing leisure activities in your current time use circle to those in your ideal time use circle ? What are you saying to yourself ?

If you want an accurate idea of how much time you spend on leisure and how much you enjoy the time you spend in various activities, complete the leisure activity log as illustrated in Exercise # 15. This may seem an unleisurely activity, but as you probably realize now, your leisure time is a limited and valuable commodity. Wouldn’t it be prudent to see if you are spending it wisely ?

c. ASSESSING THE QUALITY OF YOUR LEISURE TIME

We are all of us compelled to read for profit,
party for contacts, lunch for contracts, bowl
for unity, drive for mileage, gamble for charity,
go out for the evening for the greater glory
of the municipality and stay home for the
weekend to rebuild the house.
(Walter Kerr)

One way to assess the quality of your leisure time is through the concepts of “pure” leisure versus “contaminated” leisure. By pure leisure I mean the same thing as Dennis Sparks and W. Furlong when they describe, “Flow experiences.” In his article “The Flow Experience : The Fun in Fun” (Psychology Today, 1975, Vol. 10, pp. 35-38.), Furlong wrote –

Flow experiences are activities that cause
Individuals to lose all sense of self, time, and the
external world. These experiences involve

LEISURE SURVEY

 

Just as you previously examined your attitudes toward work, you are now going to examine you attitudes toward leisure. Complete the following sentences as thoroughly a possible.

To play is to
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________

To relax is to
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________

To be at leisure is to
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________

To be at peace is to
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________

To experiences solitude is to
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________

If I were to increase the amount of leisure activities I engage in I would
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________

If I were to improve the quality of my leisure time activities I would
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________

 
LEISURE ACTIVITY LOG
 

Date

Leisure activity

Time started / finished

Number of hours

Who did you do it with ?
(If by yourself, specify)

Predicted satisfaction (0% - 100%) (to be noted before the activity)

Actual satisfaction (0% - 100%) (to be noted after the activity)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

g. LEISURE RITUALS

Jean and Allan are a dual-career couple, each with high-pressure jobs. Shortly after they were married, they took a trip just to get away from it all. Their trip was such a success that they decided to make it an annual event, and throughout the years they have managed to keep it up. Some years, depending on mood and finances, they go to New York City, stay in their favorite hotel, and take in the theater. Other years, they stay at a lake resort or go camping. Jean says, “For us it has become an important yearly ritual – no matter what is happening to us in our careers or the current crises with our teenage children.” Allan says he looks forward to it every year since it gives them a chance to renew themselves as a couple. Establishing your own ritual will add motivation for you to keep up special leisure activities.

OVERCOMING THE SOMEDAY PLOY
 
List 25 things you would like to do before you die. Then, go over it a second time and mark each activity that is suffering from the someday ploy. Go over it one more time and mark those activities you will start, no matter how small the start is.
ACTIVITY SOMEDAY START
1. ____________________________________ __________ __________
2. ____________________________________ __________ __________
3. ____________________________________ __________ __________
4. ____________________________________ __________ __________
5. ____________________________________ __________ __________
6. ____________________________________ __________ __________
7. ____________________________________ __________ __________
8. ____________________________________ __________ __________
9. ____________________________________ __________ __________
10. ____________________________________ __________ __________
11. ____________________________________ __________ __________
12. ____________________________________ __________ __________
13. ____________________________________ __________ __________
14. ____________________________________ __________ __________
15. ____________________________________ __________ __________
16. ____________________________________ __________ __________
17. ____________________________________ __________ __________
18. ____________________________________ __________ __________
19. ____________________________________ __________ __________
20. ____________________________________ __________ __________
21. ____________________________________ __________ __________
22. ____________________________________ __________ __________
23. ____________________________________ __________ __________
24. ____________________________________ __________ __________
25. ____________________________________ __________ __________
 
HINTS
  • Most successful vacationers make a clear division between work time and holiday time.
  • Avoid being overly optimistic in what you expect from your vacation (you will only be disappointed).
  • Do not turn your vacation into another form of work by trying to do or see too many things; part of the reason for taking a vacation is to escape schedules and deadlines.
  • Do not overdo things leading up to the holiday. Ian, for example, is a worrier. Two weeks before his vacation he decided he wanted to get everything done at work before he went away. He started taking fewer breaks than usual and pushed himself to work harder than his usual frantic pace, using the excuse that his vacation was not very far away and then he would be able to rest. Ian started his vacation exhausted. It took him the first week to get over being exhausted, and it took him the second week to unwind, so it was not until the time he was ready to go back to work, at the end of the second week, that he was actually ready for a vacation !
CONCLUSION

The first step toward achieving a better balance between the value you place on leisure and your actual leisure behavior is to develop a better appreciation of the role leisure plays in your life. I hope this chapter and its exercises have helped you begin doing that.

However, if you still feel that you are not using your leisure time as well as you would like, think about seeing a leisure counselor. They can be found at YM-YWCAs, other community recreational agencies, university departments of recreation, some industrial and business settings, and some mental health facilities.

TOP

You have more options than you think, but an option is not really an option until you know about it. Your leisure counselor can help you assess you interests (or possible interests) by talking with you, or perhaps by administering one of the many leisure interest inventories available.

Once your interests are assessed, your counselor will help you to identify those resources in the community where you can pursue them and encourage and support you so can carry them out.

As George Sheehan states, the ultimate responsibility is yours :

As with everything else in life, if you would
be educated, you must do it yourself. Heed
the inner calling to your own play. Listen if
you can to the person you were and are and
can be. Then do what you do best and feel best
at. Something that gives you security and self-
acceptance and a feeling of completion.

WHAT COMPANIES ARE DOING TO ENCOURAGE FITNESS

So far we have concentrated on things individuals can do to take initiative in setting up physical fitness programs for themselves. Many companies have also developed programs and policies to develop the physical fitness of their employees, for example :

  • Xerox built a multimillion-dollar gym at its headquarters.
  • Japanese workers start the day with calisthenics.
  • Noon-hour fitness programs are conducted at some manufacturing plants.
  • Gulf pays 80% of its employees’ costs of joining a fitness club.
  • A telephone company pays for the fitness testing of its employees.

Is there a department or a person at your company who is in charge of motivating the employees to better fitness, locating local resources, etc. ? If there is not, should there be one ? If your company needs help in setting up this kind of program, try talking to the YM / YWCA in your area.

TIME SURVEY
  True                 False
I am very satisfied with the way I use my time off the job box
It is very important for me to use my time off the job effectively box
I make the best use of my time I possibly can box
I feel in control of my time box
At the end of the day, I feel good about what I have accomplished. box
I feel certain of whom I am and where I am going box
I am willing to take a risk to get the important tasks of the day completed box
I seldom find myself wasting time box
I work fast and efficiently box
 
Survey
 
Survey2
 
survey3
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