If you look at the research on vacations in the United States, you’ll see that nearly half the population doesn’t take a vacation. In fact, most entrepreneurs don’t even take the full weekend off. Other countries seem to recognize the value of a vacation and are smarter about taking time off.
So why would you want to take a vacation? After all, it’s time away from your routine. It’s time away from your business. You have to find someone to take care of things while you’re away. It sounds like a hassle.
In actuality vacations offer several benefits, particularly for those who run their own business.
1) Change in scenery changes your habits and your thoughts. When we get up every day and go to the same chair, in the same office, in front of the same computer, we tend to fall into the same thinking patterns.
If we change the scenery, we change our thinking – and we change our level of enthusiasm.
2) Thinking is like breathing. You breath in and out. Your thinking is the same – you are “on” then you are “off”. If you try to be on all the time, you’ll not only find yourself burning out, but you’ll find fewer fresh thoughts.
3) You change your perspective. When you get out and meet new people, encounter new situations, and deal with different challenges, you see that there are different ways of approaching a problem. You talk with people you might not have encountered if you stayed at your desk.
4) You more easily change your habits. Depending on your destination, there is a good chance that you increase the amount of exercise you get while you’re on a vacation. In fact, if you’re trying to change your physical habits, it seems much easier when you’re away from your home environment.
5) You relieve stress. While research shows you should take three weeks off for maximum benefit, even a two or three day mini-vacation can make a difference. You’ll find when you return that things that were very important suddenly seem trivial. And that’s always good for reducing stress!
But what if you can’t take two or three weeks off? Then take some mini-vacations. Here are a couple of ideas:
Change your schedule. Instead of working 8 to 5, work from 8 to 10 am, then take time to leave the office (aka house). Go to the mall, go to the pool. Just change your scenery. Do this for a week and you’ll feel like you’ve been on a vacation!
Change your work location. If it’s not too hot (or cold) move your computer onto the back porch. Or forget the computer and move to a pad of paper at your favorite restaurant or coffee hangout.
The important thing is to change your routine and give yourself (and your brain) a break. You will quickly recognize the value of a vacation – in increased enthusiasm, productivity, and efficiency.