As a struggling workaholic, I've often said "vacations are great, as long as I have my laptop and cell." My new bride and I recently took six whole weeks off for our wedding and honeymoon celebrations. Just before I left town, one of my clients gave me a piece of advice that is well worth sharing. He said "BE PRESENT... otherwise it will go by and you won't notice." I took his advice to heart and did not check my email or take business calls the entire time. It was a wonderful to disconnect from my work life and really focus on being with my love and family, enjoying each moment as it happened.
Now that I'm back to work, the business side of me can't help analyzing the experience. And I've found out some interesting things about myself, about the company I've built, and the people I surround myself with.
1. Downtime is important - even if you don't want to admit it.
Part of my problem with vacations is that I love what I do. My business is my passion and I simply don't want to escape from it. It's part of who I am. However, I've reaffirmed my belief that taking downtime is extremely important, even when you don't think you need it. Taking time away from work recharges the mind and body and lets me return to work more creative and enthusiastic than ever. Downtime actually improves my ability to work and enjoy my job.
2. When you have good people, you can trust them to take care of things.
I have really good people working for me. When I returned, I discovered everything was still running. Any anxiety I had about "needing" to be present, or to check in, for the business to run smoothly was unnecessary. Was everything done the way I would have done it? No. But for the most part, all was well. And I am supremely grateful to be associated with such an awesome team.
3. Six weeks is a long time.
It's a REALLY long time! And I've learned that even though I "could" take that much time off at once again, I don't want to - at least not for a few years. Two weeks is probably about as long as I can handle. But, I know I can leave and trust my people to do what I hired them for. And that's a great feeling.
So even though being a workaholic is pretty much coded into my DNA, I now realize how important it is that I keep taking vacations, even short ones. It's good for me; it's good for my family; and it's good for my businesses.