If you run a business, you need a vacation. In fact, you need to take a vacation regularly. And NOT just a vacation to “recharge your batteries.” I’m talking about a great vacation that makes both your personal life and your business life better.
Here’s what I did on my recent vacation and how my experience can help you as a business person.
Rule #1- Do NOT try to “get away from it all.”
DO take your cell phone. Do check your email. Do call into the office.
It’s hard to relax on vacation when you’re stressed out about your office, missed calls, office emergencies, clients or customers looking for you, etc. The notion that we have to separate our business life from our personal life with a “Chinese Wall” is completely ridiculous and completely unrealistic. If you feel better while on vacation by checking in with your secretary, assistant or manager a few times, then do so. Don’t WORK, but do check in a few times. You’ll have a better, more relaxed and fun vacation, if you know that you’ll return home and not have to face a catastrophe.
Rule #2- Eat well. Exercise.
Vacations are a time to replenish, refocus, re-establish and renew. That applies to our minds, bodies and souls. Our hectic lives at home wear us down and wear us out. We fall into bad eating habits and exercise routines. You can stop those bad habits and establish new ones during vacations. In fact, establishing good habits is really the best thing you can do on vacation.
I just returned from sailing through the Caribbean, and time in Panama and Costa Rica. I always wanted to sail through the Panama Canal. Now I have! It was fun, adventurous and relaxing. And, I ate well. There are no fast food or drive-thru restaurants in the mountains of Costa Rica or along the Panama Canal. I ate locally cooked rice, beans, chicken, plantains, etc. Normally, I try to cut out caffeine during vacations, but I wasn’t going to pass up fresh coffee served at the haciendas in Costa Rica. I did refrain from processed foods almost entirely, and I exercised. Now my job is to get past the difficult first week back and stay on track to eat well and keep exercising.
Rule #3– Read. Something fun. Something educational.
I read often at home and every day at the office, but there is always a growing stack of books and magazines by my bedside table. Vacations allow me to read important business books and books of leisure. I also read those magazines that have stacked up. I read the magazines first, usually in the airport and in the plane. I cut out the articles I want keep or read again. Then, to lighten my suitcase, I throw away the other parts of the magazines. I save the books for the beach!
Rule #4- Come Home With Ideas.
Take some paper and a pen. This is a time to reenergize and become motivated to be a better person and businessman (businesswoman). You should outline ideas, hopes, concepts, aspirations, etc. that you’d like to accomplish when you return home. Do NOT rewrite your business plan. DO think about larger, exciting and interesting ways to come back from vacation and become better than ever. Consider a few new ideas that you could implement when you’re back at it next week. If you took the right books and magazines, you’ll have new ideas that excite you about the future of your company, firm or career.
And this Rule #4 applies to your roles as a father, husband, wife, daughter, girlfriend, friend, partner, etc. This is not just about business. I came home with ideas about being a better friend, father, son, brother, etc.
My financee and I spent hours on vacation talking about her law immigration law practice, our pending nuptials, and our future together. We took a very fun “marriage workbook” with us, and had a blast going through it. We talked about a wide range of topics, both personal and professional, and we came back ready to take on the World together.
Rule #5– Make It Memorable
Have a great time. Try doing something you’ve always wanted to try. Maybe try white water rafting. Or deep sea fishing. Or, sailing through the Panama Canal. Whatever it is, give yourself reason to remember how good it felt to reward yourself with time away from your routine and sources of stress. Take a few vacation photos and tape them to your PC or desktop. If you can remember your positive vacation experiences, you’ll remember that the routine stuff is worth it. And, you’ll be more likely to take another vacation sooner than later.
Rule #6– Follow Up When You Get Home
Now that you’re back, make the most of your vacation. Schedule time on your calendar, or in your PDA or planner to follow up with things planned on your vacation. Do these things:
- Do eat better.
- Do get better sleep.
- Do exercise.
- Do implement those business concepts, plans and goals.
- Review your notes and the magazine sections you kept.
- Do make changes in your personal life to feel more successful as a father, daughter, wife, etc. . . and businessperson.
Here’s a final idea. . . print a copy of this blog today, and put that copy in your favorite suitcase. Tomorrow, schedule your next vacation. Then, when it’s time to pack the suitcase, pull out and read this blog again. Pack your magazines and books. Get on the plane and start at the top with Rule #1.
Do these things, and your business will benefit tremendously.