Don’t be a Workaholic on Vacation

First of all I want to encourage you to use all the vacation-days you can take or are entitled to.

You may be climbing the corporate ladder, or running your own business. But that doesn´t change the fact that you need to take time to relax and renew yourself — makes you much sharper in all your challenges.

Those old ideas, about people that are able to take days off are expandable, or not engaged in their job, are just soooo outdated.

A lot of new researches show that people that have hobbies and fulfilling life outside of work, perform better at work. Work to live, rather than live to work.

When you are off work — you should (if at all possible) be off work

I know that there may be people that have to be reachable when on vacation, but they are fewer than you think.

Be strategic in how you do your work and choose good people to be on your team, people you can trust. Then you should be able to have your phone set to silent and just check it every few hours — or not at all, when on vacation.

Few years ago I was stuck in those old ideas I mentioned above, that if you wanted to go somewhere you should be working all the time.

Let me share with you a rather sad personal story from a vacation I took few years ago — and what can be learned from it.

I was working as a COO in a bank, this was in the year of 2009 I think.

It was July and I had signed up for some vacation at work, mainly because my husband was going on a vacation. The idea was to go travelling around Iceland with our youngest son.

Few hours into our 7 hours’ drive, to where we were headed — and I was still on the phone. I was talking with my boss, my direct reports, arranging all kinds of things at work.

Just as one of those phone calls ended my husband shouted at me:

“There is no fun being on a vacation with you, I´m taking you to the nearest airport, you can just go home!”

I put the phone away and for the rest of our drive I only used it when going to restrooms…

For the following few days we were staying in an apartment we had rented for part of our trip. I went unusually often to the bathroom. Not because I needed to, all the time, I was just hiding with my phone — sending and replying to work-related emails. 
 Few days into this nonsense I got a hold of myself. What was I thinking?! 
I was not really on this vacation. I was not being present, enjoying this trip with my husband and son. 
For the rest of the trip I spent less time in the bathroom and more time with the people that matter the most to me. I managed to turn this around and have a great time for the rest of the vacation. I checked my phone maybe once or twice a day, well maybe it was four to five times a day. 
Still the company that I worked for was running fine when I came back. I needed to trust my team and our procedures. 
I have learned that if you are a boss who can´t take a time-off, you are not a good boss!

Please enjoy taking vacations, and time with your loved ones, you are not indispensable. Use it to relax and renew your energy — you will do so much better at work when you get back.

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Originally published at herdispala.com on July 21, 2015.