Take Time Off to Get More Done

drinks in the sand

Wait…what? You may be asking yourselves, “Did I read this title correctly?” Yes, you did. Corona said it perfectly in their popular marketing campaign “Find your beach.” Corona suggests finding your place where you can unwind and rest your mind, and finding your place where you can detach from the busy and stressful world we live in. And of course, to do it with an ice cold Corona and lime next to you.

The truth is that we all need to “find our beach” from time to time. In fact, several arguments can be made that this should be viewed as a priority, instead of a luxury, to keep your mind fresh, keep you rejuvenated, and keep you performing as effectively and efficiently as possible.

My “beach” is not as sunny or sandy as it may be for some. My “beach” is in the woods, 16 feet up a tree, in camo rather than swimming trunks, bowhunting in the fall months of the year. For my wife, it’s on the couch under a blanket with a warm cup of hot chocolate and a new book. Your beach can be anywhere; anywhere you can go to rest your mind and unwind, so you can come back refreshed.

The fact is, this is not just dreamy thinking, this is science. Several sources of research cite this idea and several benefits associated with taking breaks and vacations. I’ve heard many people say (and I have often been one of them) that they did not have time for a vacation, or somedays they do not even have enough time to take a couple breaks. How can we afford to take breaks when we have so many things to do? Good question, right? But can we afford not to?

Let’s talk about breaks first. Our brains basically have two gears; concentration/focus gear and unwind/daydream gear. Both are important. In fact, studies have even shown that many areas of brain activity increase while we’re in our less focused gear. Allowing ourselves to take a couple of breaks a day and decompress allows us to make important connections throughout the day and helps us retain information. It also improves the effectiveness of the rest of the day that we spend in concentration/focus gear. When our minds can rest for a few minutes periodically, we are able to be more productive.

Everybody wants to go on a vacation, but nobody wants to pay the price. That’s a little short-sighted. Sometimes it seems like taking a vacation is double-the-work before you can leave, answering emails all day while trying to enjoy yourself and your family, and then double-the-work when you return to play catch-up. Aside from your spouse and kids being mad at you for not disconnecting, you’re missing out on one of the main advantages of taking a vacation; that is, allowing your mind to be in the unwind/daydream gear for an extended period of time.

What you’ll find is that you can solve some of your business’ biggest problems and issues by “not thinking about them.” You take a vacation, you see and interact with new people, you eat different food, you visit different places. All of this allows you the ability to see things from a different and fresh perspective that you may not necessarily see during the daily grind at the office. Great ideas and solutions often stem from time away from the norm, experiencing something new.

We’re over half way through the year and my guess is many of you have more vacation days that you haven’t used than you have. What are you waiting for? Get out there and find your beach. Make your business better by refreshing, refueling and rejuvenating. You might just come back with a big idea or solution that you’ve been working so hard to find.