It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do for a living, we can all resist the benefits of down time even when we plan and pay for it.
I had the opportunity recently to travel for a beautiful destination wedding. Before I left I verified that there was wifi and I planned to work while I was there, getting some writing done, working on some marketing, you know “get things done”. Essentially I was planning to use my very rare time away from home, kids, work responsibilities, to work…just a little.
As I was packing my bag I looked at my computer and I realized it wasn’t coming with me. It was liberating. Then I had a moment of regret at the airport, followed by a feeling of being behind when I saw people working over breakfast at my beach hotel. Out of habit, I checked my email on my smartphone, but then I realized what I was doing and stopped. So with some effort and mixed feelings at first I let go. I enjoyed the luxury of having nothing in particular to do. I spent my time being with my husband and our friends. Catching up, taking it easy, and having a lot of fun. It was delicious.
When I was heading back to the airport I started to look forward to coming home, to being with my kids, to getting back to my routine, to hitting my business really hard. I realized if I brought my work with me, I wouldn’t miss it, I wouldn’t have a new relationship toward it when I got home. New ideas, new excitement, new energy. I realized the ability to disconnect is not innate, it takes some discipline, but it’s only in the letting go, that we can gain new perspective, in that brief gap between all the doing lies creativity and inspiration.
So as you are planning your vacations I encourage you to set it up so you can really disconnect. It may seem impossible, you are needed, you are important, your work demands it of you, but the truth is your world will not come to an end if you take a few days off. Especially if you prepare everyone for it. At the very least you’ll get a real vacation, and at the most, well you might have finally given yourself the room to look at what you are doing in a whole new way, or to connect with the people you are on vacation with, or to just have the kind of fun that you can only have when there is nothing pressing on your mind.