The importance of taking time – Part 1

“I’ll get back to working out after this big project wraps up.” “I know my PTO balance is maxxed out, but I’ll start planning a trip soon.” “I will get that to you this weekend.” These are all phrases that I hear all too often at work, so I figured I would share some thoughts on it. First off, I admit I am a realist. Sometimes there are deadlines to worry about. A project may be behind schedule. An unplanned work trip popped up that you need to work around. For those scenarios, often we need to do what we need to do. What I am talking about is when those become the norm, not the exception. So many people today don’t understand the importance of taking time.

About 9 months ago I got inspired by a bunch of folks on my team. They had created a Webex chat room to share their work from home workout successes and were all there supporting and encouraging each other. I started joining in slowly, with occasional push-ups or a few dumbbell exercises between calls. But then I decided I needed to do more, to make an effort to give myself time to take care of myself.

Eric Thiel on a bike on a dirt trail taking time out of his day

Taking time out

For Christmas I picked up a very basic mountain bike to see if I could get into the habit. I blocked a bit of time each late afternoon to go for a ride and started going out each day. Initially I could not ride for long at all, and even the gradual slope in front of my house was tiring. But I found I really enjoyed the 15-20 minutes of clearing my head, focusing my thoughts, and not staring at a screen, before going back and wrapping up my day with emails and other ToDos from the day.

I recently decided that since I enjoyed that time of focus so much, that I would invest in a nicer bike when a good deal came along. It arrived this week, and after the first ride I can tell I will enjoy it much more on the new bike. It feels much more stable, the parts are nicer, and as such work much better, and it’s more comfortable. I still can’t make it as far or as long as I would like, but I am getting better. I highly encourage others to take a similar break each day to clear your mind. If not on a bike, take a walk, or make some workout time, or play with a pet. Doing something away from screens to give your brain a bit of room to reset. You won’t regret it, and will also soon appreciate the importance of taking time!


Eric Thiel outside with blurred background
Eric Thiel




Welcome to my personal blog, where I will share some insights and thoughts beyond those you can find on my developer blog at Cisco. I will share some thoughts on business technology, but also home automation, travel, and maybe even electric vehicles and other green technology innovations. In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @EricDThiel, connect with me on LinkedIn, and check out my Developer Blogs if you want to see what I am up to.


Eric Thiel