Let’s face it, in today’s world it seems people equate taking vacation, taking a break, and disconnecting from work as slacking off. Like it or not, that is the perception out there. What’s missing, though are the cold hard facts that restful time off and a varied, fulfilling, and rich life actually result in more personal and professional effectiveness and productivity, not less.
Where did you get your last best idea? Was it on schedule in your desensitized cubicle chamber? Was it while you were toiling away in your home office? I doubt it. Most likely it was while you were in the shower, taking a walk, working out, on vacation, or enjoying wine and dinner with a friend. It is impossible to innovate and create on demand and under the gun. So, why do big business and many small business owners still equate # of hours with productivity?
In a recent Worthwhile Magazine article called “The Secret to Success: Work Less” Anita Sharpe poses some great questions:
Taking time off is still too often equated with slacking off. How many of you honestly think you can go away for two weeks and
a.) not check email even once
b.) not be called a single time by your office or a client
c.) not be a little concerned if you could completely disappear for two weeks and no one really missed you?
How about you? Can you honestly say yes to these 3 questions? I know I can, and will be saying a big YES to them next week while I am exploring Alberta, Canada. As much as I am passionate about building my business, I know that no one in this world is indispensable, and I deserve to have play time to just BE, enjoy nature, and connect deeply with my partner. She and I can thoroughly attest to the benefits of disconnecting completely and escaping to a great environment which is why we love to do it at least several times a year.
Sharpe references a previous article “Work Less, Achieve More” by Margaret Heffernan. In this earlier article Heffernan talks about Michael Eisner’s fall from grace at Disney.
The most bizarre achievement of which Eisner boasts: that, in 28 years of hard labor in the entertainment industry, he only took one week off ever.
Do you know someone who would find this bizarre achievement laudable? Is that someone you? Was it ingrained in you by your family, mentors, or bosses that anything less than working yourself to death meant being a failure?
If you believe these messages and clichés (“you snooze, you lose” or “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”) that get handed down and lived out before your very eyes you will find yourself working into burnout and dis-ease even if you keep saying what you want is a more fulfilling life or time off to enjoy life.
So, what can you do? My advice is to simply buck the trend. Even if everyone is working 15 hours a day, you don’t need to. It is like the old motherly advice – if everyone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump too? That’s a lot like what we’re faced with in the fast paced, burned out, insane business environment portrayed in these articles. You might think “I can’t” when it comes to taking the time you need. I say that you can’t afford not to take care of yourself. No one is coming to save you and no one (except those who love you) will really care if you drop dead or lose your health on the job.
You are in charge of “You, Inc.” and it’s time you took a leadership role. Next time you’re feeling guilty like you’re slacking off, know that time away from the professional grind will fuel your fire, ultimately make you more successful, and allow you to cultivate a fulfilling personal life as well. Imagine that!
lesbian , lesbian business owners,LGBT ,GLBT , self-care, avoid burnout, rest and relaxation
4 thoughts on “Slack Off, Succeed More”
Good post, Paula, and good advice. I read an article about Americans taking fewer and shorter vacations so they wouldn't miss e-mail messages and conference calls.
As a travel professional, that disturbs me, but as someone who knows the value of recharging my batteries, I'm committed to fixing this. You can read my blog post, "Unencumbered Vacation Time" at http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/5744604.
Wonderfull advise, as a business owner it is hard to find the time to relax and enjoy life. I am just coming to the relization that I need the time away to recoup my way of thinking not to mention I need to learn how to relax. If there is anyone that want to teach, you can email me at [email protected]
i had a great experience with this this summer. while i DID check my emails etc. while on vacation, i totally throttled down and stopped huffing and puffing, trying to "make" things happen in my new therapy practice. well, it turned out to be the best month so far!
i hope i'm learning the lesson 🙂
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