When I was a young attorney, I was assigned to monitor the activities of an outside law firm that was representing my employer in a lawsuit. The billing statements showed one associate working 14-hour days. I had no reason to believe that the law firm was padding the bill—in fact, the total number of hours seemed reasonable. But I couldn’t help wondering if the long hours made the tired associate less efficient and whether she would have done a better job in fewer hours if she had been fresh.
Flash forward thirty years. I’ve been working long and hard revising my very first book for its second edition, which I am trying to get ready for a conference in October. I’m tired and probably cranky, although you would have to ask Roland about that latter part. So when Sunday’s weather was favorable for a sail, I wasn’t sure I could afford to take the time.
Unfortunately, we haven’t had very many good sailing days lately. And with the season drawing to a close, we will probably get in one more after this—if the weather cooperates. So rather than disappointing Roland, I kept my thoughts to myself and went.
If I had remembered those billing statements, I wouldn’t have been so hesitant. There was just enough wind for a peaceful sail, and I came back refreshed. Then I went back to work with renewed energy.
Sometimes I think I don’t have time to take a nap or go sailing. But the truth is that I don’t have time not to do those things. And yes, the double negative is intentional.
Because sometimes the best way to work efficiently is to spend time relaxing on the water.