Why Vacations Are Not Wasted Time by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Recently, when dining out at a restaurant, I overheard the man at the table next to me comment about how he hadn’t taken a vacation day from work in three years. I use the term “comment” loosely, as the tone of his voice indicated he was actually bragging about this fact. He wore it like a badge of honor, as though it made him a better employee, or a better person.

Success at work is important to most people. However, it’s important to have a definition of success that goes beyond how many hours you put in at the office. In fact, some would argue that those who work incessantly are inefficient, as well as lacking the balance in their lives that help them see an alternative of perspectives.summerfun

Taking regular vacations is one of the most important things you can do for your sense of balance, your perspective and your overall well being. Here are three reasons taking a vacation can be good for your work life.

  1. You get physical rest. People who don’t take vacation are more prone to fatigue and have a weakened immune system. Even if your vacation is spent at home, you’ll get the chance to rest up and rejuvenate your body.
  1. You get a mental break. Your mind will benefit from the rest you receive by thinking about things that aren’t work related. This break can give you renewed focus and enthusiasm when you return to work.
  1. You gain perspective. Taking vacation gives you time to see the world outside the focus of work. This can often open your mind up to the kind of “thinking outside the box” that helps you to solve problems creatively and develop innovative ideas that can help your business.
  1. You increase your own level of happiness. There are people who love to work, and who thrive on getting the job done. However, the healthiest people from both a physical and mental perspective are those who have interests and relationships outside of work and who make nurturing those a priority. When you increase your own level of happiness, you will become more productive at work and you will be a person that others want to work with.

So, if you’ve neglected to take your vacation time, schedule some time off right away, and make a plan to use that time for mental and physical rest and relaxation. You’re sure to find that you’re even better at your job after some time away.

Taking Time Off the Grid by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

As we gear up for the holiday season, it’s natural to think about taking time off to spend with our families. Many of us look forwimages3ard to this time, but many of us also feel a bit of stress associated with taking time away from work. We fear that productivity will suffer or that others will look at us as not dedicated enough.

But, the truth is that we all benefit from down time, and that our productivity suffers in the long run when we fail to take a break every now and then. So, when you’re tempted to feel stressed or guilty about the time you’re taking for the holidays, keep these things in mind.

  • Time away from work allows you to free your mind from the thought patterns you use on a daily basis when working. When your mind becomes free of this pattern for a while, you gain a new perspective on issues you’re facing. Don’t be surprised if you come up with the solution to a problem you’ve been wrestling with out of the blue while you’re on vacation.
  • Time away from work allows you to focus on your closest relationships. These are the people you do the work to provide for, the ones you miss when you are working and the ones you feel guilty for leaving to work. Strengthening those important relationships without the interruptions of work leaves you feeling fulfilled and happy, which helps you to be more productive when the time comes.
  •  A vacation gives you the opportunity to rest your body and your mind for an extended period of time, and time to pursue interests that are not related to work. All of these things help you to regain mental focus and fresh perspective when it comes time to return to work.

As the holidays approach, remember these three things, and don’t allow yourself to feel stressed out or guilty about the time you take with your family. Time away is a win-win for both your personal life and professional life. You will gain the chance to reconnect with those you love and remind yourself of why you get up each day to pursue your business. At the same time, you’ll gain the rejuvenation you need to attack your business with full attention when that holiday is over.

 

The Value of a Vacation by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

images

Summer is the season of vacations. Kids are generally out of school, and the weather is warm. But, for busy leaders, the idea of taking a vacation from the day to day activities can be stressful, and may make you feel a little guilty. That feeling is common, but not necessarily in the best interest of your work or personal life.  Here are three reasons you need to take that vacation this year without wasting a minute worrying about it. images

  1. Your brain and your body need rest. No one can go at full speed forever without suffering both physically and mentally. A well planned vacation, where you take time to ensure that everything back at the office is under control may be just the thing that prevents a poorly timed emergency illness. Your emotional and physical health will thank you for the little getaway. You may not even realize how exhausted you are until you take the time to relax.
  1. You will come back with a fresh perspective. Time away helps you to distance yourself from the everyday annoyances and problems of the workplace. By doing so, you often see these issues in a more productive light. You may find that you are able to make some much needed changes upon return from a good vacation. You may also find that you see simple solutions to problems that have been plaguing you for weeks at work.
  1. Your career is not the only thing in your life. Many successful leaders lose family and friendships along the way because of overwork. Don’t let your desire to climb the corporate ladder cause you to risk the relationship with your family and friends. A week or so away helps you to strengthen those family bonds and reminds you of what’s most important.

Vacations are important for many reasons. Truly successful people live a balanced life that allows time for all the things that are important. This allows you to keep a good attitude about both your work and your home life, ensuring that all your relationships remain intact. In addition, taking that time to enjoy some down time will often make you a much more rested and productive leader when you return to the office.

The Value of Disconnecting by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

index2

The expectation in today’s world is that we are always connected. We have 24/7 access to news and social media and connect with our friends in an instant. This instant access has its perks, but it also has its downfalls. Taking a little time to disconnect from electronics can provide several important benefits. Consider these things you might gain from unplugging for a while.index2

Less stress – The requirement to be “always on” and “immediately responsive” creates stress. Unplugging for a while can allow you to destress and relax.

More intimate connections – When we’re always plugged in, we may connect with more people in a day, but the connections are more superficial. Take a little time to have a face to face conversation with someone you care about with no interruptions.

Greater mental focus – Constant connection often equates to constant interruption. When you really need to focus on something, disconnecting while you work may help you to do a better job and get the job done more quickly.

Easy Ways to Make Sure You Disconnect Regularly

Disconnecting from technology will be most beneficial if you practice it regularly. Here are some simple rules you can use to help you avoid being overly connected and allow you some time to recharge.

  1. No phones at dinner. When you sit down with your family for a meal, make it a rule that phones are not welcome at the table. This allows you to have conversation with each other face to face.
  2. Turn off your phone at the same time each night. There’s no reason to stay on the phone until bedtime every night. Shut down well in advance of bedtime to allow yourself to wind down.
  3. Wait to look at your phone and computer first thing in the morning. Give yourself an hour to get ready for the day before you begin the day’s connection. Have coffee (or your favourite beverage), take a shower and allow yourself to wake up in peace.

Technology is a beautiful thing. But, it’s not so beautiful when it controls your life. Take charge of your connection time and recognize when enough is enough.

The Importance of “Me Time” by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

index2

Many of us do an excellent job of taking care of everyone else, yet neglecting our own needs. In fact, many people actually feel guiltyindex2 about doing things for themselves, especially if it means they might have to say “no” to the need of another, even temporarily, to do so. However, what many people don’t realize is that those people who must take care of others, whether their family, or their business, can be more effective at being the caretaker if they care for themselves first. After all, as the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”.

Here are three reasons why you need to make time for yourself and make your own needs a priority.

1. You can avoid burnout. None of us can go on indefinitely without taking a little time away. Eventually, your lack of attention to yourself will result in poor decisions, frustration or giving up on your goals. By taking a little bit of time for yourself regularly, you can stay recharged.

2. You can look at problems with a fresh eye. When you take a little time away, you can often find perspective on your biggest problems when you come back to them. Very often, the things that seem impossible to solve or catastrophic seem much less problematic once you’ve stepped away for a little while.

3. You can help others more genuinely. When you are constantly meeting only the needs of others, you can begin to resent those who depend on you. Once you’ve given yourself a chance to have a little personal down time, you’ll find you are able to take care of others happily again.

Giving yourself down time doesn’t always mean doing something radical. Sometimes taking a moment to enjoy a glass of wine before moving on to your next task can be the break you need. Rediscovering an old hobby you’ve neglected can help to refresh your mind. Having a date night with your significant other or reading a book just for fun are also ways you can recharge and take care of yourself. Do whatever works for you….but make it a point to make your own needs as much of a priority as the needs of others in your life.