Out of OfficeOut of Office Blog

The Importance of a Small Business Vacation

Claire Diaz-OrtizClaire Diaz-Ortiz

For much of the world, summer is now upon us. And visions of summer often bring with them images of one of summer’s favorite all-time activities: vacation.

A lake, a beach, a jet ski, and a fruity drink to match all factor heavily into the best of our dreams of vacationing well. Importantly, those same dreams don’t contain an iphone or laptop. Alas, for many of us this lovely, disconnected vision of vacations of yore seems just that – a relic of another time. But is it? Or, rather, does it have to be?

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I believe it doesn’t. Ultimately, as even the most ambitious of entrepreneurs and small business owners can attest, the act of getting away from it all can really be a good thing for your business. (A GREAT thing, as I’ll argue.)

Here’s why bringing back some of the best parts of disconnected vacationing can impact your business in a good way:

Time Off Does a Body Good

For many of us, nagging headaches, anxious thoughts, or persistent indigestion seem to magically go away when we’re away from it all. We think this is “coincidence”, but it’s anything but. There’s good reason our bodies react this way to time off. Study after study shows that stress levels reduce when we get out of the office and go on vacation. Importantly, though, the benefits of this reduction in stress don’t end when the vacation does. Indeed, this critical period of de-stressing can prepare us for the busy that’s sure to come. (Holidays, anyone?) Time off is essential to making ‘time on’ the best that it can be, and it’s a shame so many Americans these days don’t take the vacation time they have earned. This summer, honor your work by taking your vacation time, and truly getting offline when you do so.

Disconnection Helps You to Reconnect

The art of disconnecting is a tricky one, and often folks only learn to do it well when they have entered an overwhelmed state. That’s why smart small business owners know that taking time off before you really need that time off is an essential step. Importantly, thinking about disconnecting is different from thinking about taking a regular old vacation. After all, in 2017 a “vacation” for many people actually means spending some time each day on email (with a beach or a pool thrown in as well). This year, push yourself to truly get offline when are on vacation. Don’t bring your laptop, and don’t check email on your phone. Take an offline vacation with no regrets, knowing that every moment you spend away from the busy of your work will help you dive back in more productively than ever at vacation’s end.

Businesses Benefit from Breathing Room

One of the best things that can happen to a small business owner on a great vacation is a moment of clarity about a key decision or a light bulb of an idea for a great new product or service. Amazingly, this is actually a reality more often than not. In the same way that great ideas often come to folks while on a languid walk or in long showers, a vacation can be fertile soil for deep thinking. Scientists say that it’s only when we put some of our biggest concerns and worries on the backburner in our life that we can get some of our best thinking done on those very problems. (Without realizing we’re even doing it!) On your vacation this summer, take care to be aware of the thoughts, decisions, and clarity that might be coming to the surface. Go one step further and solicit such insight by proactively taking time out of your languid days to ever so gingerly ponder an issue.

The first step is making sure that vacations can help you to work better when you do get back to work is fairly straightforward, but increasingly hard for many Americans. What do you need to do? Use your vacation time and take a vacation! But that’s not all. In our increasingly connected world, no longer can we assume that plopping ourselves on a beach in a comfy chair will instantly dissolve all our stress. Instead, we need to proactively seek to reduce our online time on such vacations in order to truly reap their benefits. Try it this summer, and you’ll see the win in your business come Fall.

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