Time Off is Time Well Spent

Everyone is busy these days. With our lifestyles being busier than ever, it is important to take time off, and I mean a real vacation – away from phones, emails and the office.

I personally feel that these vacations should be taken “away from your home”. Go to another town or city, spend time in the mountains if you live near any, or fly to some other destination, but leave your home. If you take time off work but stay at home, you inevitably end up getting caught up in the “chores” that have to get done. Well, these “chores” will still  be there for you when you get back from your holiday. You’ll still be working, it’s just not office work, it’s on house work. Also, if your office is a home office, you haven’t really gone on holidays.

I’ve heard people say (and I’ve said it myself in the past) that “I’ll take time off when the time is right”. Well, a long time ago someone once told me that there is never a good time, so just book the time off and go. And he was right. I’ve been doing this for the last 15+ years and I’ve never regretted it. In fact, I feel rejuvenated, relaxed, fresh and productive by the time I get back.

I’ve known people you never take any time off. Instead, they carry over their vacation time from one year to the next, but they never book any time off to enjoy them! Nobody can work hard for weeks on end without an extended break. Some people may think they can, but really, how productive are they being? The more tired and worn down you are (i.e. burnt out), the probability of making mistakes in your work also increases. As these mistakes happen, then you are creating more work for yourself because now you have to go back and fix these problems. Recognize this issue, and if this is happening to you right now, then it’s time for a vacation.

When I say vacation, I’m talking about at least 1 to 2 weeks off here. Not a weekend getaway (even though that does help somewhat). You need time to recharge your batteries, remove the stress that you may or may not know you’ve got and just relax.

When you go on holidays, leave the laptop at home. If you bring it with you, you’ll be enticed to open it up and just do a bit of work. Now, what kind of a vacation is that where you’re still working, only in a different location? Not much of one. So leave the laptop at home. The same goes for the blackberry or iPhone or whatever device you use for receiving work related emails and phone calls. Again, if you’re doing work related tasks on these devices, you’re not really on a holiday.

I understand that there may be tasks that you feel can only be done by yourself. I would challenge you on this. None of us are indispensable. Learn to delegate tasks to others. This may require you to plan ahead and train anyone required to perform your tasks while you’re away. Also ask youself – does this have to get done while I’m away or can it wait till I get back? This will help you to prioritize tasks.

Well, I’m taking my own advice and I’m heading off the Mazatlan, Mexico for a 2 week holiday. I’m just taking my eReader and doing some pleasure reading while I sit by the pool or on the beach. The only difficult decisions I plan on making during the trip are:

  1. Do I go swimming in the pool or the ocean?
  2. Do I take a nap or do I read some more?
  3. Should I go for a walk on the beach, or just relax by the pool?
  4. (I think you get the drift here!).

Oh yeah! I also plan on getting scuba certified while on my holidays. I’ve already done my confined dive certification, I just need to do the open water dives to be fully certified. I’m looking forward to that!

To the Greatness Within You!


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