In September, I took the first real vacation off from work in about three years. Earlier in the summer I had implemented what I call "no-work-weekends," but that's really not enough.
Did you know that studies show after about 50 hours a week, productivity actually starts to go down?
While working less than 50 hours a week isn't realistic for some entrepreneurs, I urge you to schedule vacations and breaks into your life for your sanity, health AND business success. They aren't just luxuries. They are completely necessary.
6 Reasons Vacations are Vital
Your mind needs time to relax in order to foster creativity.
Have you ever found that when you step away from a problem, such as taking a shower, the answer to something you've been working on hits you?
This Huffington Post article claims, "It's been proven that allowing your brain to day-dream allows you to better solve problems and be more creative."
Put things into perspective
If you keep moving full-steam ahead in your business, you can lose track of your intentions and miss signs that things don't feel right. Stepping back gives you the chance to realign.
This past spring/summer I've been in a transitional period in my life + business. Taking time off has allowed me to step back and think about which direction I'd like to go in.
Try new things
Vacations are the perfect opportunity to try new things, and as I mentioned in this post about the secrets to happiness, this is a vital building block of a happy life.
Trying new experiences and surrounding yourself with different environments will help inspire creative solutions inside your business or job.
While I was in Estes Park, CO I tried a few new things, such as hiking in the Rocky Mountains and watching a blue grass performance in the park.
Vacations are also a great way to force yourself to disconnect.
While I still had my phone, I purposely left my laptop at home. I put up auto-responders and warned my clients weeks ahead of time that I would be unavailable. There were a lot of places in the mountains where I didn't even get reception, so that was a bonus.
Because we're constantly connected, there's a decrease in true bonding time with friends and family. Getting out of your normal environment, trying new things and disconnecting will help bring you closer to those you're with.
Improve your health
According to an article in the New York Times, "Those who failed to take annual vacations had a 21 percent higher risk of death from all causes and were 32 percent more likely to die of a heart attack."
Plus, hiking in the Rocky Mountains re-inspired me to be more active and return to healthier eating habits. Sometimes we all need a little jump start.
The same article says, "After a few days on vacation — and it usually took two to three — people were averaging an hour more of good quality sleep. And there was an 80 percent improvement in their reaction times."
Better sleep, health, and increased reaction times translate to increased productivity. You'll be able to do more in less time with better focus.
In the Comments:
Where will you go on your next vacation?