Take a vacation and leave work behind

Take a vacation and leave work behind

My wife and I had planned a trip to Maui with family, only to discover after booking it that she was pregnant and the trip would take place too late to allow her to fly. So the family went alone, and we later celebrated the birth of our daughter. That was almost five years ago. Meaning I hadn't been on vacation in almost six years - until just recently.

It wasn’t a planned "vacationless" time span - it just kinda happened. My daughter was born and we didn’t travel until she was 16 months old. We took a short five day trip to Disney - but with a toddler, it was anything but refreshing even though it was fun - so we don’t really count that time away. Besides, I also worked during that trip.

This time I left my laptop and the office world behind

So this time, with my daughter several months past turning four, we scheduled another long overdue trip to Disney. And I vowed to leave work behind so I could spend time relaxing and enjoying my family. It’d been about twelve years since I last vacationed without a computer - and without doing some work while away. But I was determined to recharge after being fried and burned out for a long while from long days and months toiling at the office.

It was one of the best decisions of my life

I knew I was tired from overworking. But I didn’t really realize just how bad it had gotten. The first two days were spent sleeping late, and even napping. Then we enjoyed time at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Typhoon Lagoon. Or we simply had fun around our hotel. After about four days (as my coffee addiction ebbed) I started to feel refreshed. A glance in the mirror startled me as I looked healthier than I’d looked in a long while. And my daughter and wife were happy to have my undivided attention for a full week. It was blissful.

My batteries are recharged

After a restful week, for the first time in almost six years I actually looked forward to going to work. My mind was clear and bubbling with new ideas. I was reinvigorated. On the Sunday before returning I even did a bunch of long overdue home repairs - to the astonishment of my wife. Even the 1000s of emails waiting for me upon my return weren’t a problem - I was excited to be back.

Never again will it be so long between vacations

What I’ve learned - which is echoed by hundreds of professionals and colleagues - is you need to take a break and get away in order to recharge. Vacations and time off are crucial to not only your personal health but also for your business health. If you’re burned out, you’re not in tip-top form - and things suffer.

So I’m vowing to take regular vacations - where I leave work completely behind. And I’m even planning on taking more long weekend breaks in between. I always knew it was important to take a break... but sometimes you just don’t see the smoldering ruin of your utter burnout until you experience the polar opposite. And in our always connected world - getting away from it all seems even more important - a lesson I hope to never have to learn again. So I’m excited to be back... but I’m looking forward to my next break too.

Sep 29, 2014

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