Is the era of the unplugged, work-free vacation over? Is one of the great luxuries of the 21st century truly a vacation without email? Regrettably, it seems the answer to both questions is ‘yes’. From talking to clients and others in the business world it seems that almost everyone is planning on staying connected to the office when they travel. But at what cost?
While it’s incredibly tempting to steal a peak at email in between naps on the beach, it’s a bad idea. The reason is simple: when we feel distant from our work – when it seems a million miles away – we are able to think about work in a new way. As a result, seemingly unworkable problems – that challenge that we’ve been sweating over for months – are suddenly solvable. Breakthroughs come while taking a break.
Hammocks are Important
Rarely do we realize the ways in which our surroundings constrain our creativity. When we are always “close” to the problems of work, when we never silence our phones or stop responding to email, we get trapped into certain mental habits. We assume that there is no other way to think about things, that this is simply how it must always be done. It’s not until we’re lazily drifting in and out of a delicious nap in a hammock by the sea – when work seems a universe away – that we suddenly find the answer we’ve needed all along.
Surely you’ve had one of those “a-ha” moments when you were dozing off or in the middle of a movie. Whether it was an idea for a school project, a work problem, or a personal issue that had stumped you, those light-bulb moments happen when you’re not thinking about it. Aside from the fact that you earned those vacation days and owe it to yourself to take a mental breather now and then, you also can improve your work performance as a result. A little relaxing can lead to new ideas which can lead to business success.
At your current job or at a past one, did you take some unplugged days on your vacation? Or did the economy, your boss or overall workload impede your chance to really take a break and recharge?