Slow Down – Vienna Waits…And So Does Your Task List


The last few weeks have been hectic with deadlines at work and back-to-school at home. As I rushed from yet another work meeting to transport one of my children from school to practice, I caught a few lines of Billy Joel’s “Vienna” on the radio. It was not the first time in my life that the words struck deep:

“Slow down, you crazy child – You’re so ambitious for a juvenile But then if you’re so smart, then tell me – Why are you still so afraid?”

As one of my favorite songs, the lyrics of “Vienna” serve as an important reminder to me. From the onset of my career, I was certain of the formula for success—the right job, the advanced degree, the next promotion. I took off in my career at a dead sprint. I was eager to please and driven to succeed. The formula extended to my personal life as well, as I was certain that the beautiful wife, two kids, and the house on the cul-de-sac would consummate my success and happiness. But if I had it all figured out, why was I so stressed and exhausted? Why was I still so afraid?

“Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about? You’d better cool it off before you burn it out You’ve got so much to do – And only so many hours in a day.”

In the perpetual haste of life, when do you pause? Are you ever truly present to the blessings of your life? Do you take time to experience joy? And at work, how often do you put aside the urgent for the strategic? In your constant rush, are you ever truly efficient? Worse yet, do you sacrifice your core values to meet your next deadline? What is the impact on your relationships, your health, your joy? Are you burnt out?

“Slow down, you crazy child And take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile It’s all right, you can afford to lose a day or two.”

At CEEK, we recognize that a healthy and engaged workforce is the key to sustained, long-term success personally and organizationally. We’ve incorporated Billy Joel’s advice into the fabric of life at CEEK. Our staff set aside Analog Time as part of their daily work schedules. This time is theirs to disconnect, pause, reflect, and rejuvenate in whatever manner works for them. We gather weekly to remind ourselves who we are and why we are doing what we do. We engage in monthly wellness challenges to pursue mental, physical, and spiritual health. And we expect our colleagues to truly unplug from work and reconnect with the self and loved ones during annual vacations.

I encourage you to take time to pause amidst the chaos of your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly work and life schedule. Remind yourself that “You’re Only Human” – another great song by Billy Joel. And if you are a leader in your organization, promote a culture that manages this tension well. Establish rituals that allow time for strategic thought, fight against perpetual haste, offer safe space to disconnect, and CEEK a Better Way®!

“When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?”

For more about how CEEK can help your organization redefine and pursue wellness and success, visit our website, connect with us on LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter.

Reference: Billy Joel. “Vienna” The Stranger, A&R Recording, NY, 1977