Working Hard to Relax. It Doesn’t Make Sense.
Next week I’ve got a trip to Cabo with my wife for our 15th anniversary. We’ll be there without kids and with friends. I’ve been looking forward to the trip because we haven’t been on a trip like this since our honeymoon. The biggest question I’ve got heading into it is “will I be able to relax?”
As a small business owner, I wear a number of hats everyday. Unfortunately, I haven’t done a very good job of passing along the information that’s helpful for completing my job to others. A new process comes into my office and usually stays there without documentation or delegation. I’ve set myself up to fail when it comes to getting away from the business.
My first week long vacation occurred two years ago. I hadn’t taken a full week off from work since I bought the business ten years prior. We took a trip to Costa Rica with my family and my business partner’s family. It was during December, which is a slow period for our business, but I had some loose ends that hadn’t been tied up. I also had responsibilities that only I knew how to handle. Without me working in some form, the entire operation would shut down.
Needless to say, I spent my mornings completing my responsibilities and then trying my best to enjoy the trip the rest of the day. Being with my business partner didn’t help the situation, because we talked about the business. Instead of fully enjoying the fun of the trip with my family, I spent part of the time preoccupied with what was going on at work. This should have been a time to relax and recharge, but at times it was stressful.
Last year, I took a week off to go to Disney with my family. I had done a better job this time of preparing for the trip and not having the same amount of work to carry with me. I still took my laptop and spent my mornings fulfilling my responsibilities that I hadn’t delegated. This time, I was able to shut it off when I was done and refocus on fun with the family. Disney World is a great place to be distracted from the real world.
Now back to this year’s trip. My goal is to completely shut off from work and relax. I have delegated all duties. By the time we board the plane, I plan to have all loose ends tied up. I’m not going to check e-mail and I’ll be out of the country so I can’t receive calls. I may need to throw my phone in the ocean due to texting capabilities. I’m working hard to relax.
When I return to work, there may be a little chaos, but what’s the worst that could happen? We miss a couple of minor deadlines or have employee uprisings due to the cat being away. In this case, since I have handed off my most important duties, I may return to a surprise. I may return and realize that the daily work can go on without my presence. This would be a positive. Shutting off some of my daily duties will allow me to focus on the bigger picture of growing the business. Now that would be a huge positive.
So I’ll finish up this week strong and on Friday when I leave the office, I’ll shut down work mode and go into relax mode. It’s been hard work to get to this point, but in the end it will be worth it.
Please share your experiences with getting away from work in the comments. Any tips, tricks or advice would be great for myself and fellow readers.