The Well-Intentioned Manager’s New Year’s Resolution: Have More Fun

Cute girl sitting on ice skatesIt’s the New Year, and I hope you’ll forgive one more post on resolutions—although this one might be a little different from what you expect.

Because our topic is the well intentioned manager and the mistakes they make, what you aren’t going to hear from me is a lot of ideas on what you could do better. In fact, you are going to hear the exact opposite. Our last post received a very relevant comment:

“I see good managers who are so dedicated they fall out of balance—working too many hours vs. focusing on value. This is damaging to their health, ends up not being sustainable for the business, and sets a poor example to their teams that you have to martyr yourself to be successful in management.”


It’s true. Good managers who care about their people often put themselves last. They work like crazy, take care of people at home, and then the New Year comes along with the pressure to quit sugar, smoking, carbs, TV—or do something else that feels equally impossible. Not this year.

What I am going to suggest is this:

Think of something you have been wanting to do for a while—maybe all year, maybe longer. Then take a PTO day to do something fun: Take a walk on the beach with an old friend. Stay in bed and watch six movies. Cook a fabulous meal for favorite folks. Book a massage and have a full-on spa day.

What do all of these activities have in common? They’re not being done in service to others. They will not improve your vocabulary, lower your cholesterol, or make you smarter or thinner. What they will improve is your quality of life.

I was Skyping with my college student son the other day and he said, “Gotta go, we’re all going ice skating!” We hung up and it took me a minute to recognize what I was feeling. It was envy. I love ice skating and I haven’t touched my skates in—who knows—probably ten years?

And here is the really crazy part: I pass an actual ice skating rink on my way to work every day. But has it occurred to me even once to grab my skates and take a couple of turns? In the noise and mayhem of the next client, the pending deal, the meetings, the kid who needs picking up and, of course, the endless “What’s for dinner?” the answer is no. But now I’m giving it serious thought.

So for 2015, make a resolution to plan, and do, three things that are just for fun—possibly silly, certainly indulgent.

Me? I’m going ice skating. Happy New Year, everyone!

About this new column

Madeleine’s Advice for the Well Intentioned is a new Saturday feature for a very select group: well intentioned managers. Leadership is hard, and the more you care, the harder it gets. Join us here next week to look at another challenge (and possible solution) for this unique group.

Previous posts in this series:

The Top Three Mistakes Good Managers Make

Managing Polarities: A Key Skill for the Well-Intentioned Manager

10 thoughts on “The Well-Intentioned Manager’s New Year’s Resolution: Have More Fun

  1. Nobody’s told me to have more fun for a long while, so thank you, but I did think about a NYR and have resolved to go out to lunch more. So, gotta go, I will celebrate Nollaig na mBan (Women’s Christmas) this evening in Dingle with some old friends. Hooraay!

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