I just returned from a week’s vacation. My wife, daughter and I spent a glorious week at a nice beach house at Kiawah Island, looking for alligators and deer, visiting the beach and the pool, and enjoying each other’s company. It was cathartic, medicinal, renewing and, I felt, well-deserved and hard-earned.
I asked Meghan one day why our culture deems it OK to allow 1/52 of the year for vacation. That is 1.9% of the year. Is that due to the demand of the workplace? Nope. It is due to a mindset.
Most large companies report that even in cases where vacation and time-off are unlimited, hardly anyone takes more than a week away from work. We discussed it, and I left the conversation thinking that a change of heart is needed to get people to understand that simply taking 1/52 of the year away to recharge isn’t enough.
But, I know that a lot of times, the argument comes down to this for entrepreneurs – Who is minding the business when I’m not there? In some meetings, the self-employed say “If I’m not working, I’m not getting paid.” It’s hard to come back with a good answer when those are the arguments.
I have one thing to say, however, and it may be the excuse you need to take more time away: Your customers demand that you take a vacation.
In fact, you should take multiple vacations.Your customers deserve your best work. You can’t give your best work if you’re tired or tapped out all the time. Is there anyone who is reading this post who can say that they do their best work when they are mentally fried, frantically trying to meet a deadline, and putting out multiple fires at once? I didn’t think so.
I was shocked at the small number of emails I received while away that required my attention. Now, I had told many people that I wasn’t going to be in the office, and I set an out of office email to let people know I had made the choice not to respond until I returned to the office on August 1.
I think it’s malpractice to work without a break. Your brain can only take so much, and then you start to slip.
When I returned to the office, I am going to be ready to work. I have made lots of notes to remind me of things I thought about while I was gone…things I want to try, things that I need to remind clients about, and ideas for future projects. I am looking forward to getting back.
I also think that not only did my family and I benefit from our week away, but that you will, too.
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