A couple weeks ago I discussed the topic of taking time away as an entrepreneur and why it is so gosh darn hard. My argument was if you do what you love every day, is it really necessary to take an official vacation?
Is it even possible to truly take a vacation and calm your brain down long enough to actually enjoy yourself?
As is customary on this blog, I’m using myself as an IRL (in real life) case study. Earlier this month I ventured into my first week-long, completely work-free vacation since embarking on entrepreneurship last January. For more than a year, my “breaks” had taken shape in the form of long weekends and “relaxed” work weeks where I’d only do the bare necessities in an attempt to experience time away.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term Breaks
Taking short breaks worked for the most part I guess. I kept things moving and the business has continued to grow. I think it helps that, as a rule, I’m pretty guarded about my weekends. I don’t email clients or my team and I rarely spend time on “work” related projects. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule but those are the exception, not the standard.
Maintaining consistent, obligation-free time helps me not to overwork myself. However, after taking a week long vacation this month (which, by the way, I wish I had turned into a two-week vacation) I realize the importance of completely unplugging from work for an extended period of time.
The most noticeable difference between shorter breaks and investing in extended time away, for me, was that I actually had time to shift gears from thinking about work 24/7. It also really refreshed my strategic thinking. I came back with all sorts of ideas for our brand and client brands.
Promoting a Culture to Encourage Balance
One of the reasons I rationalized not taking an extended break (aka vacation) was that our company culture lends itself to balance. Since we’re virtual, we can work from wherever we want as long as we have an internet connection. We also offer unlimited time off, which means you have the opportunity to take long weekends or weeks of time off without traditional two-week, X personal and sick day limits.
This is a great benefit of course, however, I’ve found the tendency to justify not taking extended periods off because I already take long weekends sometimes. I’ve even heard team members express this rationale so I know this thinking is not simple because I own the business.
Why Extended Time Away is a Win-Win
As an individual, taking that week away was refreshing, relaxing and empowering. I came back from my week-long vacation ready to refocus on my goals both personally and professionally. For example, my husband and I are now committed to working out 4-5 times per week and we accomplished it our first week back. We’re even calling it the season of “Bring It.”
Professionally and as a business owner, the BIGGEST advantage to taking time away is the opportunity for renewed vision, focus and strategy. I have been reeling with ideas since I got back. Just ask my team because I’ve probably been driving them a little crazy with all the ideas I brought last week.
Conclusion: Breaking away for an extended period of time can revitalize your outlook and empower you to break through to the next level personally and professionally. It’s easy to justify not taking a break, but we have to make this a priority just as we do eating right and exercising.
You’ll feel the difference and so will your team and clients.