Take it Down a Notch, Will Ya?

I hope you had a great week and I hope you spent time this weekend relaxing. I mention relaxing because that is this week’s topic, or more to the point, shutting it down to charge back up.

As soon as I finish this article I am driving down the shore (that’s what we call it here in Philadelphia) to book a house at the beach for the second week of June for me and the family. When I say that out loud to myself, it feels good and I look forward to it, but there was a time when taking a vacation (for me at least) was out of the question.

Not that long ago, I would never think of going away, even though I can take my entire business with me in a laptop or iPad for a short period of time. A cell phone keeps me in touch with my team and clients, and online storage means everything I need is at the touch of a button.

But I always thought I had to be planted in my seat to get things done. Maybe you feel that way too, that you can’t get away? Leave the business? Let the team care for things?

But you have to get off the grid!

If you think you’re not justified in taking time away from your business because you’re self-employed, here are five great reasons why you should definitely take a vacation.

  1. Physical downtime: You work hard to grow and maintain your business. Trying to be superhuman will certainly take its toll if you allow it to. Give your body a break by taking in some R&R.
  2. Mental down time: Your days are filled with busy, sometimes even hectic, day-to-day activities related to your business. If you don’t allow yourself to get away from it once in a while, your peace of mind and general well-being is going to suffer. Get out and play. Your mind will thank you!
  3. Spend time with family and friends: Your family and friends see you working, working, working, sometimes rarely coming up for air. Both you and they will appreciate spending some quality time together.
  4. See the world (or your own backyard): The important thing is to do something you enjoy, whether it’s traveling or, if that’s not your thing, spend time at home, but NOT building stuff. If you also work out of your house, this could be challenging. The key is to stay out of your office during your vacation time. Try getting creative with this. Make your office “off limits” by closing the door and placing a sign on it. Put a lock on it and give your spouse or kids (OK, maybe not the kids) the key. Do whatever it takes to keep your mind off work. How about a hobby or a day trip to the beach? Think of what you can do within your budget that’s fun. Or do nothing at all!
  5. You have a life: Although this one is a no-brainer, it surprises me how many contractors don’t feel as if they deserve time off. There is too much to do, and not enough hours in the day to get it all done. Well, I’ve got news for you. It’s always going to feel that way! Only you have the power to allow yourself time off. Even if you prefer only to take a day here and a day there instead of a week-long (or longer) vacation each year, that’s a whole lot better than never taking time off. Trust me, you’ll feel better about yourself and your work if you take regular vacation time. You’ll be healthier, too!
Darren Slaughter is the founder and president of DarrenSlaughter.com, a digital agency focusing on website design, social media management, and content creation for home improvement contractors.