Over the past three weeks, I’ve taken a long vacation.
My family and I traveled to the Seattle area to see the sights, visit family, and take our children to Mount Rainier and the ocean.
We attended my sister-in-law’s wedding and reception and a few other events surrounding it.
After that, we hosted several family members who visited us.
After that, I attended a convention while my wife and children visited family members.
During that period, I intentionally tried to avoid checking The Simple Dollar. I set up a service that sent me messages if the site was having major issues. I checked my email once or twice. My largest effort was an idea notebook I kept with me where I wrote down ideas for articles if they happened to come to me.
As I sit here writing this, I’ve just sat down to write material for The Simple Dollar for the first time in a long while.
Most importantly, I feel really excited about doing it. I have a ton of ideas built up (some of them being good ones that will turn into posts). My only writing in the past few weeks has been on my fantasy novel, so it will feel great to write about the subject of personal finance and growth again.
In short, I feel reinvigorated for my work.
So often (and I was certainly guilty of this in the past), we get so caught up in our work that we fail to take vacations. We never turn off our cell phone. We do work in the evenings. We never get time off.
After a while, that grind can turn even the most exciting job into drudgery. It can sap away your spirit and your creative energy and your willingness to really push yourself at work. It becomes routine – and often, a routine you dread.
A vacation doesn’t mean a trip and it doesn’t mean a pile of activities that wear you out and it doesn’t mean just sitting around doing nothing, either.
A vacation means doing whatever it is that you do to recharge your energy and your enthusiasm for your life’s work. For me, that’s spending time with my family, reading, playing games, and, yes, writing, but writing in an area completely different than my usual work.
During the last week or two before this vacation, I felt like I was pulling double time getting all of the articles ready in advance for the trip. By the end, it all felt like drudgery and I felt drained.
Right now (other than a bit of tiredness from not getting adequate sleep the last few nights), I feel as enthusiastic and ready to go with my work as I ever have.
Don’t ever think of vacation as meaning that you’re avoiding your job. Instead, think of it as putting yourself mentally into the position you need to be in to dominate at your work.
This goes for supervisors, too. If you have a key employee and you need that employee to be hitting on all cylinders and putting out great work, give that person vacation time and do everything possible to not bother that person when they do their own thing. What you’ll get in exchange is an invigorated and loyal employee who will churn out a lot of great work.
In short, we all need time away from our work, no matter how much we love it. That time away makes us better.
(Obviously, because of this sojourn, comment approval and emails are way behind. I’ll get to them as efficiently as I can, but it may be a while.)