Vacations are a waste of time. I know I shouldn’t think this. They’re a great time to connect with family, relax and recharge but for someone who is “on” 24/7, I find idle time difficult. I also love my work and don’t really want to unplug.
I was talking to my wiser and more seasoned uncle this past week and he reminded me of another more important view I should have of vacation. “High achieving leaders are always expending time, resources, wisdom, and intelligence into their work and people. Vacations are their time for maintenance and refuelling.”
Think about it. The highest performance machines need regularly scheduled maintenance to ensure they’re operating at their highest potential and delivering the value that’s required of them. This process is not an absence of activity but rather a deliberate set of activities.
So what are these activities:
1. Evaluate what you need. Are you tired? Do you need to combat your constant sitting with exercise? Are you feeling intellectually drained? Do you feel spiritually drained? Understanding what you need holistically (body, mind, soul) can help you understand what you need to plan for so you can make the most of idle time.
2. Recharge your body. Sleep is not lazy. High Achievers don’t worry about getting too much sleep, we’re usually starving ourselves of the 7 – 9 hours of sleep we need per night. Make sure you keep the first few days of your vacation for sleeping. It’s more important than exercise and eating right…although those are close behind. Once you have enough rest, get outside and move.
3. Awaken your soul with relationships. Relationships are fuel for the soul. Making time for connecting and sharing common experiences with God, your spouse, kids, family or friends is an important part of the vacation. Turn your phone off and spend quality time with the people you love and have fun with.
4. Fill your mind with new learning or experiences. Vacations afford you the time to learn and experience new things. Get out of the regular workday or home-life habits which usually means forcing yourself to go away. Explore new parts of a city or an entirely new city altogether. Read a different type of book. Learn about a new topic of interest. Filling your mind with new stimuli creates new neuro-pathways and helps with overall intelligence.
Planning and focusing time on vacation makes High Achievers feel productive and it’s usually through knowing you’re producing that helps you relax.