Working hard is good. It helps us to grow our businesses and to crush our goals. But working hard is only sustainable for so long. Even on the micro day-to-day level, there reaches a point where productivity drops off and it’s no longer beneficial to keep plugging along. Building in time away throughout the workweek is super important. Even more important is planning extended time away. There is tremendous value in spending extended time away from work.
I recently went on an extended “work-cation” which included a couple of extended periods of time where I was not working. I found tremendous value in the extended time away from the office. My normal workweek looked quite a bit different than it did when I was back in the office. Below is what I took away from my extended time off. They are also things that I believe anybody will gain from this.
Allows you to refresh and re-charge – sends you back refueled and ready to work even harder.
After spending several months on the road, working from Colorado, Utah, and Arkansas I found that I began to miss the daily routine. Sure, not having a typical 9-5 schedule felt great for a while, but I eventually began to crave a routine. And once I got back to the office I began firing on all cylinders again. Prior to the work-cation I had started to feel burnt out and tired. I was no longer as productive as I once was. The change of routine and time away from the office was just what I needed to refresh and to come back stronger.
Opens you up to new ideas – inspires creativity
Being away from the office, normal routines, and interruptions allowed me much more “free space” to think and be creative. I began to dream big about just where the business could go, and what we could accomplish. It opened my mind to ideas that I had previously rejected. Getting some distance from the normal daily grind gives you more headspace and the time to think and let your mind run free. I felt the extended time away allowed me to dream big again. It’s often easy to just get stuck in the daily grind and lose focus on the BIG picture.
Allows your team to grow without your presence.
I’m blessed to have an amazing team at Bearded Brothers, and I saw an extended absence as an opportunity for them to grow further in their roles. Without the boss readily available to fall back on with questions, it forced them into more decision-making rolls. It allowed them to step up and become better decision makers and leaders. And they did just that. Everybody on the team is actually stronger today because of the extended absence.
Forces efficiency in your work
Taking a work-cation means finding ways to hyper focus your energy to be productive during the times you are working. I’ve always been a firm believer in working smarter, not longer. This especially rings true when you are taking a work-cation. Any time you plan to get work done has to be hyper focused so that you are free to enjoy your extracurricular time – which is the whole point in the extended time off anyway.
Finding extended time off isn’t as hard as you think either. You just have to be very intentional about it and plan ahead. If you are the owner – boss – CEO of your thriving startup you need to give your team plenty of notice. I let my team know months in advance that I planned on working on the road for 3 months. I even gave them my schedule of where I would be throughout that entire period of time one month in advance. We also scheduled weekly calls and did Skype meetings whenever possible as well with the entire team. This helped us stay connected and still opened up the lines for potential problem solving. But for the most part, it was never needed. The team did a fabulous job and stepping up in their rolls, and I was able to enjoy extra time with my family, and tromping around the mountains of Colorado to clear my mind.