When was the last time you took a vacation?
I hope it was within the last 6 months! Americans in general, and busy business owners in particular often do not take regular time away from work. In fact others around the world scratch their heads in wonder at how little time we take off.
Of course, when most of us do get away we don’t really get away.
About 10 years ago I was on vacation in Paris with my family and stopped in at an internet café to check my email. For the rest of the day my body was on vacation in Paris while my head was in Oklahoma City worrying about business issues. That was an expensive lesson.
Today when we have little computers called cell phones we carry with us everywhere it’s even worse. If you don’t turn off those devices along with your mind you never truly rest, you don’t recharge, and there is a very real, negative consequence to your business.
A recent study by the U.S. Travel Association found that “workers who left 11 to 15 days un used (vacation) during a year were 6.5 per cent less likely to receive a raise or bonus than those who used all of their vacation days.” Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young found that for every 10 vacation hours an employee takes annual performance review scores increase 8 per cent.
This all makes sense when you think about it. When we are mired in work, stress, problems and routine we are in firefighting mode and we are certainly not rested. I’ll bet you have had the experience of coming back from time off rested, refreshed, creative and effective. This time off business is important!
As employers we give our employees time off as a reward for working. Since we think we are controlling our own destinies I think that as business owners think we can skip this reward and create our own reward by working harder. We can’t. We are people too and we need the time away to recharge.
I was forced to think about this during my first year as a participant in the Strategic Coach program. We were asked to track our time and time off days were only those complete 24 hour periods with no work, email, cell phone, business reading, meetings or anything resembling work. I found that, although I thought I took weekends off, and vacations to Paris, that I worked all the time!
Here’s some good news. Our Strategic Coach program promised that if we would track our time and use the days at work more effectively we could double our time off and double our incomes in two years! This is perfectly consistent with the two studies I cited above.
Guess what happened to me and most of my group? Twice as much time off yielded twice as much income! Think about that then go book a cruise!