I just spent the last week in South Dakota with my family. It was a needed break from the day-to-day stuff that has been going on for the last six months.
A time to unwind and relax. A time to reconnect and think. A time to focus on things other than work and obligations…
I’ve talked taking time off before in order to recharge ourselves (see here: refreshabbatical). I’ve realized that it is very important that we do this – and yet it is so hard. I wanted to take the time off completely – without checking in or doing any work.
I ended up needing to be on some conference calls, figuring out a problem with one of our rental units, and checking back into see how an issue was being resolved at work. As a result I was up way earlier than I wanted to be while on vacation. Putting it mildly, that sucked. Setting an alarm for 5:00 AM while on vacation to take a conference call is not my idea of fun.
But by doing it early, I was able to spend all day with the family – every day.
And I didn’t check twitter, or my blog, or the internet or even the news. It was almost blissful!
Now I’m back and recharged (or at least as refreshed and recharged as one can be after driving 12 hours on Friday night so that the kids could sleep in the car).
I have a lot of ideas that have been in my head for a week that I want to write about. I have energy to get into the work that needs to be done. I have more focus to get some things done that have been sitting on my plate for a long time.
By taking some time off last week, I’m making myself more productive this week.
While I know that this is the case intellectually, I am feeling it right now. I woke up early today – ready to go. To rephrase an old Army commercial “I’ve done more before 9:00 AM than I often do in a full day.”
So why don’t I do this more often? I talked about taking a refreshabbatical before and if you are a regular reader of this blog you know that didn’t happen. That instead, I got stuck in doing work on a project.
Life seems to get in the way.
We tell ourselves that we don’t have the time. That our clients won’t wait. We think that we are indispensable and that things would grind to a halt if we are not working on them.
What we don’t always realize is that we are pushing ourselves beyond the brink.
That when we don’t take the time to refresh and recharge that we are not only doing ourselves a disservice, but we are doing our clients, our peers, our company a disservice. We aren’t as productive or creative as we should be.
Thus, I vow here, that I will not wait for over a year to take my next vacation. That I will take that vacation and will turn off my cell phone and disconnect from the internet. That I will do everything in my power to live in the moment while I am there and not worry about what is going on back “at the job.”
In doing so I know that I will not only be helping me – but I will be better for my clients, my peers, my friends, my family, and the world in general.