Small business owners continually struggle with work-life balance issues. If you can’t remember when you took your last vacation, perhaps the time is now. And that would be a “disconnected” vacation. Taking time to sharpen the saw — as Stephen Covey says in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will make you feel better, think better and more than likely focus your business better.
Travel expert and author of Smooth Landings (2006) and The Power of Dream Trips (2009) Michael MacNair has identified four steps to help you prepare to disconnect for your next vacation.
1. Interval versus endurance lifestyle: Athletes know that the best way to increase speed and strength and the quality of their workouts is to perform a series of sprints versus one long endurance workout. Athletes incorporate rest periods into their training and so should you rest and rejuvenate. Rest to not slow process, rather to make long term progress and actually accelerate. Progress at work with more focus; progress at home with our kids and spouses; and progress for ourselves and our confidence.
2. Identify what is a dream trip for you: The words strategy and vacation have never before been linked. We profess an investment in your vacation strategy by evaluating what your best and worst trips were and why, and determining from your travel companions what has to happen over the course of the trip for it to be an amazing experience. Strategize on this and then share this data with a professional who can make sure you are travel to the right destination doing the right things.
3. Preparation to turn off work: If we do not communicate well, incorporate procedures into our positions, document what we are doing, and delegate to well trained individuals, we can not walk away without our internal or external customers paying a price – and this is wrong. If they work to the breaking point and at the last minute walk away, they have to have the phone and laptop with them. If their rest periods are planned in advance they can stay excited knowing the break is coming but they can also prepare and communicate the departure so that work does not come along with them.
4. Create a future dream trip portfolio: Take some time to sketch out your plan for the year and even for the next few years out and feel the energy that this will bring. Yes, the Internet allows you to do a lot of this research and planning, but once again if you are sprinting at work you should be looking to delegate this to professionals who will know your dream trip style guide and will make all this happen for you, so that these precious dream vacation moments won’t be squandered.
“Those who plan vacations through the year and sprint to them accomplish more, are happier, and have more fulfilling lives,” according to Michael. “No one has made the argument that they may be more effective by taking a vacation versus hurting or slowing down the organization, but I argue that it is true.”