As I sit down to write this week, I am on vacation. We are at Lake Okoboji with Joanne’s family for a week of fun and relaxation. This is something that we do just about every year, and our kids and their families try and join us for as much time as they can. It is a part of their childhood memories that they treasure and want their spouses and children to have the same great experience.
On the other hand, being on vacation can be a challenge. Undoubtedly when I get back to work next week, there will be a lot to catch up on. Almost to the point where some will wonder if it is all worth it. Since this is 2018, and we have the ability to be connected to our work easier than ever, maybe it would be better to check in a couple of times every day to head off any issues while we are away. Before I give my opinion on that subject, I did some internet research about vacations.
A recent study revealed that working while on vacation, even checking emails results in you remembering less from your vacation. Taking a vacation can lower the risk of heart disease. After a day or two of being on vacation, studies show that 89% of people fell less stressful. Vacationing can make you more creative and smarter. Vacationing can help improve your problem solving skills and overall brain health. Traveling has been shown to help people with depression. Couples who travel together have reported increased feelings of intimacy. Overall, the internet studies show vacations are good.
I am an advocate of an “unplugged” vacation where I do not look at my emails and do not call in to the bank for messages. But I realize that I am not an entrepreneur nor am I on commission, and it might be easier for me. My brother in law is an attorney and sole practitioner, with whom we like to vacation. He has trouble letting go and he blames the problem on his smart phone. Prior to 2010 he didn’t have the connectivity he has now and was able to walk away for a short time and recharge his batteries.
Taking an unplugged vacation requires planning and setting expectations. Before I go on vacation, I really try to connect with my active clients and let them know I am going to be out of the office. I also set my out of office e-mail setting with a message saying three things: I will not have availability to email, the date of my return, and the name of an alternative contact coworker who can respond to an immediate banking need.
As small business owners and managers I encourage you to find a few days, and take a vacation. It will help you when you return to the job and might even help you come up with the next great thing that will make taking next year’s vacation even easier.
Some of you might be reading this thinking that I am a hypocrite writing a column while on vacation, extoling the virtues of not working while on vacation. And you are partially correct. But I don’t really consider writing this to be work. Writing this column is more like a hobby with a deadline. Plus it only takes a short time to write, and doesn’t distract me from my family or the task at hand of having a good, relaxing time. Now time to go catch some sun and clear Lake Okoboji water.