I just returned from our annual company incentive trip and it was a great reminder why a little time away is critical. I started this as a “Top 5 Benefits of Taking a Vacation” list. I quickly realized each benefit was a function of time. Don’t get me wrong the endless drinks, never ending supply of tacos and sun made it a great trip. But time was the real prize. (Brian and Mark, if you’re reading this, thank you)
With coworkers: As a boutique firm we’re a tight group. We’re great friends at work and outside the confines of the office. I’m confident we produce better results because of this. However, much of the time we spend together is work related. We have happy hours and dinners but there’s not much opportunity for extended time to visit on more of a personal level without being consumed by work and family commitments. Our company incentive trip allows for that. We’re better off for it in the moment of the trip and in the long run as a team.
With spouse: Vacation was an opportunity for us to hang out like we did back in the day. You know, pre-kids! Care free, having fun, focusing on ourselves and each other. Those of you with kids understand the challenge of finding time for one another and keeping your relationship a priority. Our 2 boys will forever be top priorities but it’s so important to spend time together without the kids. This trip was a great reminder of that.
To mentally check out: The demands of a career and family are significant. They are both rewarding. They are also draining and exhausting. All of us spent some time on work related activities during the trip. However, going hours at a time or an entire evening not thinking about work, dinner for the kids or bath time was, well, awesome.
To think creatively and big picture: When you’ve done the same thing for an extended period of time and had some level of success it’s easy to keep ‘doing what you’re doing’. There’s barely enough time in the day to meet our short term goals of helping clients and finding new candidates. But it’s important to look further down the road. What do I want to be accomplishing in 5 years? Where do we want to be as a team in 5 years? And how are we going to get there? Taking time to think creatively about new ideas and strategies is part of the bigger picture process. It’s difficult to consistently produce more or be better without evolving. You might be able to stay even. Or, worse, lose ground and go backward. Vacation is a great time to take a step back, evaluate long term goals and think of new ideas to help you get there.
To sleep! Our two boys are almost 3 and almost 1. We can’t sleep in like we use to but enjoying a full night of sleep and easing into the day is one of the biggest joys of vacation.
I didn’t expect to come back with lessons learned from vacation, but I did. First, it takes me longer to recover from an all inclusive vacation than it use to. Second, and most important, I need to do better incorporating more time into my schedule for these activities. They’re important to me. Side benefit is I’m confident I’ll be better at my job because of it. And maybe a better coworker and spouse too.
How about you? Do you have a vacation planned for this year?