Last week I was talking to my client Betty (not her real name), She’s very successful in a highly competitive creative industry here in Australia. Lamenting, she says:
“This is the first time in 10 years that I’ve gone off-grid for a full 2 weeks. I knew I was tired, I didn’t realise how tired!”
It’s only when you stop that you discover how tired you really are.
Are you like Betty, finding it hard to take big chunks of time off? Betty’s current solution is to take every second Friday off. I’m going to be holding her accountable. It’s too important. Potentially, she’s at risk of being like John…
Burnt out and broken down. That’s how John (not his real name either) was when I met him. The CEO and owner of an 8-figure business. He’s had to redesign his business, actually redesign his life now he’s stepped down from his CEO role. He says he wished he’d contacted me years earlier.
Now he does holidays like no-one else I know…three booked this year alone! From the outside it looks glamorous, but I doubt you’d trade it for what he’s been through. He says he’s a shadow of his former self, and his loyal employees attest to it.
Turns out Betty and John aren’t unusual. Australian workers have 134 million days of annual leave up their sleeve1. USA workers have 658 million unused vacation days2.
1 Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016, n=4,984. Base: Australians 14+ in paid employment who are entitled to annual leave. 2 U.S. Travel Association, 2016
You know it’s smart to take a break. The evidence is in. People who take breaks have:
- Less stress
- Improved mood
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Greater productivity at work
- A better social life.
So why don’t you take your holidays? Here are a few reasons:
- You dread the unmanageable workload (and inbox) when you return
- You don’t think anyone will be able to step in and do your job for you while you’re away
- Money – not being able to afford it (camping or a stay-cation, anyone?)
- ‘They’ will discover you’re replaceable
- It’s too hard to get all your ducks in a row before you go, so that you really can go off-grid.
I confess. I’ve used most of those reasons as excuses too. And have my fair share of those unused vacation days. So what can you do?
If you are finding it difficult to give yourself permission to take time off for whatever reason, here are some ideas:
The Ad Hoc Break
Start small. For example, when travelling for work, I typically tack on a short break by adding a day or two either side. Sure it’s short, but it’s a break and makes business travel much more fun.
The Regular Break
Go a little bigger, like Betty. She’s planning to take a break every second Friday. How could you build in a regular break that’s not quite a full holiday?
The Holiday with a Little Work on the Side
This is getting closer – a holiday with just a little business added in. The holiday, not work is the main dish this time.
This will be me later this week! I’m excited to be taking a week’s holiday with a little work on the side.
The Real Holiday Deal
You’re all in, off-grid – for your entire annual leave. No sneaking here. When did you last do that?
We’re at the end of holiday time and almost into February. How do you feel? Rested?
If you can’t remember when you last took a real deal holiday, or know it was too long ago, then reach out and get the support you need. A partner, a friend, a colleague. I’m here too.
You don’t want to end up burnt out and broken down like John. He never saw it coming either. He never thought it would happen to him. Please make sure it doesn’t happen to you.