Leisure - the art of kicking back

Focusing a little more

Learning how to relax

In the past, I've got up to a variety of things to relax, including Samba drumming, riding Motorbikes, and setting up websites (which turned into more of a work thing, so doesn't relax me any more, if it ever did :)). In recent years, with an increased workload, I've tended to do nothing much, or maybe read a brainless book, (preferably books requiring no intellectual effort at all, like Terry Pratchett). I was letting work take over a bit too much.

The death of a friend and colleague of mine from new variant CJD, around my age, in my research group at BT Labs, made me reflect on what I was doing with my life. He was on the point of leaving the whole research area as he found it sucked his energy and was somewhat anti-human pushing buttons all day. He was a buddhist and a philosopher, (and ironically a vegetarian), and I respected his opinion a great deal - he paused to think before everything he said rather than shooting from the hip.

As a result of his perspective on life. I've been setting specific goals to get more relaxed, with fewer 4-in-the-morning coding sessions (although they're still rather too frequent, and tend towards 18 hour days - freebies for my employer through no fault of their own).

The Downshift - working 4 days a week

BT made it very easy for me to downshift to work 4 days each week instead of 5 days. This effectively means I get every fifth week off. That's important to me, partly because of all the projects I've taken on over the years which require programming and internet stuff outside of work. Having the 5th day to do this stuff means I don't sacrifice my weekend entirely and I get some fresh air occasionally. I'd recommend downshifting to anyone who can afford it, but need to get stricter on taking my holiday days, and not letting my leisure time slip.

With my increased leisure time, I've...

  • learned to paraglide
    • I'm now a qualified pilot
    • I own my own wing - an Ozone Mojo
    • I've travelled to Tenerife, the Alps, and plan to fly in US and the Basque country in the next few months
  • made a plan to buy a boat
  • built this blog
    • this began as a project to build a website for Katya Popova
    • a classic example of personal leisure blending right back into work as these technologies are already being used in BTok


leisure (7)

paragliding (7)

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mark buckland