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Life Balance

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The modern lifestyles are hectic and responsibilities taxing. An individual is taxed by demanding obligations both at work and at home to a point where the body, mind and sensory system is overwhelmed. Yet most of the engagements that an individual has to see through by the end of the day only reinforce the exhaustion of yester days, to a point where everyone is in a constant state of exhaustion, stress and depression. The more one works the more the boss demands. The more one gives to the family, the more is demanded. At the end of it all, leisure becomes something to read about and never to experience (Haworth & Veal, 2004).

It is funny that technology, which is supposed to have made work easier, has actually made people more occupied with tasks. There is never a day that one sits back and feels that he or she is free, without deadlines to beat, without demands pressing him or her down and without any calling schedules. That means that individuals are today in a constant state of work, at home and at the work place. The consequence of these has been frequent nervous breakdowns, stress, depression and other chronic diseases like heart failure (Iso-Ahola & Haworth, 1997).

The mantra of modern production at the work place is to give as much as it takes to get the job done, sleepless, break-less, meal-less and illogical spells included. There never seems to be a moment to leave the job behind and devote a moment to one's self. Even when the office hours are done, there will be a carry home assignment and of course, the kids will be waiting for their quality time. Workaholics perpetuate their engagements with family and social responsibilities until there is never a time to relax and calm down the nerves. The body soon burns out and diseases raid in (Trenberth & Dewe, 2002).

The definition of leisure is an engagement that is not work and which only purpose is self amusement. Leisure is an activity that one enjoys and in which the body, mind and soul rejoices in doing whether or not it is beneficial. Leisure activities demand very little from our bodies and from our mind, Instead of taxing an individual, leisure activities stimulate relaxation and enjoyment (Haworth & Veal, 2004).

This paper reviews the role of leisure in the day to day life of an individual whether in view of his or her career or in general life. The relevant question is what part does leisure play in our lives? The paper identifies notable schools of thoughts and experts in the contemporary body of knowledge and summarizes what these experts agree on when it comes to the role of leisure to ones career of life. This application of knowledge is used to determine how a leisure facility manager should organize his facility to cater for leisure activities that help individuals to cope better with the stress and strains of daily life and career demands. A final opinion is offered in respect to the arguments developed in the paper, as a conclusion on what role leisure plays in one’s life or career.

There have been many experts writing on the importance of leisure as a scale on which to balance work and life. Leisure has been deemed important in maintaining the life/work balance today. Kerry Patterson for instance is the co-author of the bestselling book, Crucial Confrontations, This book explores the points at which an individual must put a stop to one engagement and pick the other. He writes about a point at which one should limit the interruption of such technology as the mobile phone and internet and a point at which work must be separated from life.  Peterson believes that a work email should never be viewed during leisure hours since if that accrues; work has crossed the borders and domineered on life. In the same way, personal relationships should not be allowed to cross the bridge to the work place.

Colleen DeBaise is a world renown columnist in Washington Post and numerous other periodicals both offline and offline. Her column on Washington Post is called “Balancing Work and Life”. In most of her writing, she stresses on the need for entrepreneurs to balance their lives and their business commitments such that there is a moment in their lives to be themselves and not businesspersons. She is also the Editor in Chief and proprietor of SmartMoney.com, and she therefore knows what it means to be in entrepreneurship

Al Gini is among the most prominent authors in the world on the subject of work/life balance. She has written a book titled, The Importance of being Lazy: In Praise of Play, Leisure and Vocation. In this book, she draws heavily on recent research findings about the American vacation habits. Her conclusion is that 'doing nothing' is one of the most fundamental human needs for healthy, happy individuals (Gini, 2003).

Ruth Ostrow, a former Australian financial writer of prominent publications as The Finance Review, The Weekend Australian and BRW Magazine attained her prime in the late 1980’s and early 1990's only to quit the corporate lifestyle on a near nervous breakdown (Ostrow, 2009). Today, she is a renowned speaker and writer on life/work balance and the need for leisure. She has written bestselling books. Her most thought provoking works are accessible at http://www.ruthostrow.com/worklifebalance.htm, where she frequently stresses on the need for a balanced work life. She draws heavily on her personal wreck due to the rat-race of workholism and the new passion she gained when work became part of her life and not her life parse (Ostrow, 2009).

Some notable authors who should never miss a mention in a discussion about work and leisure are John Trevor Haworth and Anthony James Veal. They are the co-authors of the acclaimed work/life manual, Work and Leisure. The authors use some though provoking statistics to conclude that the more one works without leisure, the less effective and efficient he or she becomes. The more one works without leisure the more unproductive he or she becomes due to body malfunctions, complications and general fatigue in body and mind. Interestingly, these two authors’ draws heavily from the works of Joseph Pieper and Romano Guradini who identifies a point in time when America became very productive and yet people had the most amount of time for leisure. The trend observed has been a decrease in leisure allowance over the years and with it a decrease of efficient productivity in employees.

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