The Importance of Vacation

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In the spirit of the Canada Day holiday and the upcoming July 4th holiday, let’s talk about using your vacation time to relax, refocus and reenergize…

Q: Most of us like vacation time – but some managers and business owners can’t seem to leave their work behind them, right?

A: Yes, there are some organizations where the expectation is that you are always connected to the office. This poses a problem though… we are really not meant to be working all the time. In order to be at our best, we need time to relax, slow down, assimilate all the information we have and return to work refreshed and ready to focus on future success. Even if you frequent the gym, you realize that you stretch your body with weight lifting, then you allow the muscles time to rest and recover before working them again. Same goes with work. Your downtime gives your mind time to be creative, otherwise you are caught in the hamster wheel.

Q: Is the manager’s unwillingness to take time off a symptom of a bigger problem?

A: Yes, it probably indicates an unbalanced life, an inability to relax and increased stress on both the mind and the body. If a manager or business owner is unable to leave their business in the hands of key people, it likely means that they are not good at delegation, communication or coaching their people to grow and make good decisions for themselves.

Q: What do you advise leaders to do?

A: With the clients who I personally coach, I get them thinking about their business as a means to support their lifestyle, instead of viewing work as their only reason for being. Some of my clients work their way up to 10 weeks of vacation. I know that sounds like a lot to most people, many of who get 2 weeks of vacation. For those managers who never seem to be able to take more than a week off at a time, here are a few tips:

– look at why you can’t seem to relax – is it because of a need for control, an absolute love of what you do, the fact you don’t trust others to take care of things in your absence.

– develop your team and make them aware that you would like them to take care of things for you when you are away and only call if there is an emergency

– Find things other than work that you can enjoy and pursue them with passion.

– Then as people take greater responsibility, keep releasing more decision making to them and use the extra time for looking more at the big picture.

Some of my best ideas come when I’m on vacation and not thinking about the business.

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