We’re already a month into 2019. Goals and processes are at the forefront of workplace conversations. For my team, there is no exception. We’ve launched a new marketing plan, we’re producing more content than ever, we’re expanding our team, we’re increasing our customer success goals and touch points, and in the middle of all of the work and people and projects that I manage.
I took a vacation.
In fairness, there is almost never a great time to schedule in PTO on a work calendar, especially for smaller to mid-size companies that are matrix-style environments that require dynamic responses to daily/weekly/monthly initiatives. Nevertheless, I scheduled my time off, I took my time off, and I actually completely unplugged for the first time on a vacation in well, it was the first time I ever truly disconnected.
I’ll admit it I had a bit of anxiety breaking off from the corporate world in my quest for a warmer climate and dose of relaxation. I’m an avid traveler, but I usually keep my phone nearby or check in via email with staff and customers while abroad. As always, I did all of the pre-trip prep work to ensure my team had the correct coverage and resources. I let customers know ahead of time that I would be inaccessible. I did everything possible to help while I was away.
And then I went away. I spent a glorious week doing a large amount of absolutely nothing while staring at the ocean. And I learned something extremely important about myself: working hard is critical to success but taking a break can enhance efforts in the long term. I felt my personal stress level plummet and realized it was easier for me to think when I wasn’t trying to think at all.
So is this blog a treatise on why you should go on vacation? No (although vacations are quite nice). I wanted to share my experience because I intend on applying what I learned about myself in smaller doses to make me even more productive and efficient (which is, of course, what LinkPoint Connect is all about).
1. Step Away to Solve a Problem
Whether it’s a few minutes, hours, or days (or you find yourself on a tropical island somewhere), stepping away from an issue can help you solve it. When we’re trying to build new content or innovate programs, we often spend a lot of time going over and over the same items. But if you take a step back, or drop the topic altogether for a while, the answers may be more evident the next time you have the conversation. My own inclination is to stick with something until it’s resolved; but a break and a fresh take can ultimately solve things more quickly and with less of a headache.
2. Boredom Is Helpful
I intentionally unplugged on my recent excursion to get a break from thinking about work. But I found that when I was relaxed, thoughts about work randomly arose and with results rather than rumination. In Bored and Brilliant, Manoush Zomorooi elaborates on how boredom can actually enhance our creativity. When you step away, unplug, or drop a topic, you just might find yourself coming up with answers you had stopped searching for.
3. Make Time for You
Non-stop anything will cause burnout whether it’s work or cooking or video games. My vacation showed me how numb I had become to the affects of going, going, going. I care about my job and our customers and my team immensely. But constantly working through lunch breaks and staying late and then answering emails from home at 10pm because why not had an effect on me. Hard work is important (if my team is reading this get back to work!). But making time for you where you can, to ensure you are getting the time you need to reset is also important. Whether you do this with your lunch breaks or on the weekends, consider how you can have your me time while still meeting your responsibilities.
With all of that said, I’m glad to be back and have hit the ground running. I feel more refreshed from my time off and better equipped to meet the challenges at hand.
I’m also planning my next adventure.