A few years ago, I thought that vacations were cool but not really necessary. I’ve always enjoyed my work and thought that things would not be done while I’m away. That was obviously before I had kids. Next week, I’ll be taking a week off and relaxing. I now seize the all the importance surrounding vacations.
I’m sure you have heard this line many times in your life. Since the brain is like a muscle, the more your “train” it, the better (bigger) it becomes. If you do train, you also know that it’s not a good thing to workout the same muscles every day. If you want better results, you should alternate your exercises and allow your muscles to rest. For example, if you do biceps on Monday and go back to the gym on Tuesday, you are better off working on your legs. The muscles will grow faster if they are not overused.
I believe the same theory can be applied to your brain. If you are always working and making demands of your brain, you will not exceed your capacity. The opposite might even happen; you might stagnate and eventually burn out. I told you I don’t believe in burnouts already; this is because I believe people don’t take care of themselves enough and then burnout. Don’t worry, I’m far from having a burnout. On the other hand, coping with a new job and a newborn at the same time is very demanding for our family. This week off will give us the time to relax, disconnect and enjoy life.
This used to be a big discussion between my wife and I.Are you bringing your BlackBerry? She asked every time we were packing our stuff.
The answer is yes.
But I have set rules:
#1 I check my email once a day, 10 minutes in the morning.
#2 I only answer urgent email requiring immediate attention.
#3 I don’t send any email while I’m on vacation (besides the replies to urgent email).
#4 I don’t answer the phone
I run an online business. For me, it’s impossible to not have access to my email for more than… 2 hours ;-). This is why I bring the BB with me during vacation. But let’s get realistic here: the sky won’t fall because I go on vacation. There are very little emergencies that require my immediate attention. In fact, everything is being handled so closely by third parties that I don’t need to have my nose stuck to my BlackBerry all the time. This is why I’ve decided to check it once a day for 10 minutes.
This agreement I have with my wife is perfect: I can enjoy my vacation because I know that my business is making money while I relax and I don’t put my family vacation on hold for an hour or two to literally work on my sites. I believe in the benefits of having real time off from work. If you can’t completely disconnect, you won’t be able to “restore” your brain properly.
There is something magical happening when you completely disconnect from work. This is something that also happens when you sleep. Your brain keeps working secretly. So while you are enjoying life, doing nothing but the things you really enjoy; your brain runs secret programs in the background that allows you to generate awesome ideas.
Each time I stop writing my blogs for a few days, there are tons of great ideas that come into my mind. Instead of opening the laptop and starting work on them right away, I simply keep a notepad and write them down. This is how I’m able to keep enjoying my vacation while I know that when I go back to work, I’ll have a strong comeback.
I’m not too picky on my activities when I take time off. First, I truly enjoy an early morning round of golf. I love going for a bike ride or playing outside with my kids. Finally, the thing probably enjoy the most is to taking the time to cook awesome meals and enjoying wine during supper time J. These are not really expensive activities but they make my vacation a success. I’m really looking forward to it!
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