Take A Vacation From Your Business
Vacations are a longer version of time off. They are among the most effective contributors to emotional stability. As tension and stress accumulate over time, a vacation that offers a complete change of setting and freedom from responsibilities can alleviate many problems. Afterwards you can return to your business with a fresh perspective and full of vigor.
The function of a vacation is clear from the Latin roots of the word vacatio, meaning to be free, to be empty. Yet the most common vacation, spent at or near ones home, is also the worst possible one for building emotional stability. We call it “taking a bath with your clothes on.” This is because you will not stop thinking about work or being stimulated by it unless you are well away from it.
Many people won’t take vacations because their identity is so tied to their work that they can’t imagine themselves without it. John, a real estate financier and workaholic, is a good example of this. Every time he plans a vacation, something comes up at work that forces him to cancel. His identity is too weak for him to feel comfortable on a vacation, so work always takes precedence. He isn’t alone. Many people who appear to be wrapped up in their jobs are really just uncomfortable on their own.
Admittedly, during the first few years of starting a business there is often too much work to do and too little revenue. It may not be possible to take a vacation during this time. But the main reason one-person proprietors give for not taking vacations is that there is no way to deal with the business that comes in while they are gone. They fear that their business’s momentum will be lost and that customers will begin to view them as unreliable. There are two answers to this: One is to create and use backup support. Another is to plan something to inject new life into your business upon returning, such as marketing events or community parties.
To take a real vacation, get far away from your work geographically and into a different climate, different air, and a different colored sky. Get far away in time as well. Taking four days off to rest is a good idea, but don’t call it a vacation. Your mind takes that long to stop thinking about important issues. Two weeks may be an emotional minimum; much shorter than that may not be worthwhile. In fact, too short a vacation may make matters worse if you return without the emotional renewal needed to handle the work that accumulated in your absence. Consider that it takes at least three days to let go of your worries and three more to prepare to return to the work world. So if you take only one week off, you will get only one day of real vacation.