Tweak Your Biz » Management » A Holiday? Are You Mad?

A Holiday? Are You Mad?



Those of us in business, particularly when its our own, often lose sight of the fact that there is a world outside waiting to be enjoyed. Even when we remember it, we don’t feel like we can take a holiday of any description otherwise the business will collapse.

While the first couple of years may be hard, if we are still struggling in year 3 to get some of our time back, its probably time to sit down and have a re-think!

Relaxing on remote beach

So why don’t we take time out?

  • We are often poor time managers (usually because there is so much on!).
  • We forget why we got into business in the first place. I’d be surprised if those entrepeneurs out there did not include improved work/life balance as one of the reasons why they started out on their own. Certainly for me, establishing my own business was partly based out of a desire to gain some independance and me-time back from the corporate existance.
  • We don’t trust anyone else to do the job on our behalf as well as we can. This says more about our ability to train and mentor people to take over from us, along with our ability to make sure we find the right person, than it does about our own ability to perform the role.
  • Some in bigger businesses are fearful that they won’t be needed/missed. In my own business, if I take a break and the world doesn’t collapse because someone in the organisation stepped up – happy days.
    It now means that I have someone else in the management team that I can rely on to take more responsibility so that I can focus on other aspects of the business. They are happy with the extra responsibilty and I’m happy that I can trust the business to be run correctly without having the hand on the tiller all of the time. How can this be a bad thing?
  • We have forgotten how to relax. As a society, we think committing our lives to our businesses is what is expected. This is true – but only because we have made it this way.

There are probably a million and one other reasons; this project is late and I need to stay with it, we have a crisis to deal with ya-de-ya-de-ya. Most tie back to the “business will fail without me” ideology that many of us have.

Holidays/vacations are important. They help us re-charge, re-connect with the fact that the world outside of business exists and is there to be enjoyed, relax with friends or on our own and to take stock of where we are now. The business will be better off because you will give it the necessary attention but with a refreshed viewpoint.

If you can’t take two weeks, take a succession of mini-breaks instead – they can be just as powerful. As the saying goes, no-one on their death bed says they wish they’d spent more time in the office. Its true to us all – even those who won’t admit it is.

So plan your business to allow you to get that breather – it and you will be better off! Enjoy your break!



Sponsored Content

The Author:

Budding entrepeneur working on software product solutions for business. My background is mainly operational and senior management roles in mobile telecoms and software houses. Areas of expertise include professional services, out-sourcing, team management and general operations management. I've made the conscious decision to create my own company having spent the last 20 years learning in the corporate world. In my contributions to this forum, I will share some insights and learnings that I've picked up along the way and hopefully they will be useful to some or all! http://www.myprojecttracker.com

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog/ fred

    Spot on Barney! Man… I guarantee you that 99% of the people that read this posts feels guilty abaut not taking proper holiday.I like the alternative of small breaks. It sounds more real for those that can definitely not take a week or two in a row…In my case, I'm getting married this year and will forcedly have to take three weeks… That will be a challenge!

  • barneyausten

    Thanks for the feedback Fred. The small break thing works really well – this is what I do at the moment. Having said that, a three week “forced” vacation doesn't sound that bad :)

  • paulmullan

    Good Topic Barney. 4 weeks into 2010 and I'd say most people are dreaming about the summer already.Are holidays not cheating? :-)Never been one for holidays as I can’t relax period. Don’t know if this is because for the most part I have always worked for myself or it’s just my make up. Personally I like shorter breaks than big long ones – bit like in America. I work extremely hard but having said this I rarely work after 12 on a Friday. I always feel charged but then again this could be because I am enjoying what I am doing. I guess the important message is take a break – whatever form. W/L Balance is important.How many people truly switch off on holidays anyway? Be they 2 hours/2 days/2 weeks/2 months. Technology makes it very difficult. Micky O’Leary will have to introduce a EUR1000k charge on mobiles and technology to help people.P

  • barneyausten

    Hi Paul. Holidays – cheating – absolutely not! And switching off on holidays – they should – technology is an excuse (appreciating the fact that some people have to be contactable…), maybe Mick should bring in that charge :).You make a very valid point – the break is the key, what you do with it and how long is very much up to the individual. It depends very much on the industry you are in as well as to whether the few days away or the big block of hols is the option for you.Thanks for the comments.Barney

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Fred, congratulations! I keep quite on the “forcedly” if I was you, you never know who might be reading :)Barney, Great reminder to us all. Downtime is critical as you point out, one commitment that I have made to myself this year is that I will take a least one full day per week off. I say this because last year, I fell into the trap on working Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. As a result, I started to feel a drain on my energy reserves in turn limiting my overall effectiveness.

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog/ Fred

    You're right man… will touch base with the missus to explain the real meaning :)

  • barneyausten

    hi Niall. Thanks for the feedback. No days off a week is not a good thing dude – you need to chillax once in a while :)

  • elainerogers

    Great post Barney.personally I enjoy the long breaks – really a chance to unwind (which takes over a week anyway) and get out of the zone – this can boost creativity and reduce burn-out. Disadvantage is we can get too far out of the zone, making it harder to get back into the saddle when we get back.Most businesses have a “lull” during the year, and a “high” in other months – I always plan my holidays around my “lulls” – works really well and I am minimising missing out on opportunities.Fred, Congratulations – I had a forced long holiday last summer – best thing ever (besides the wedding itself)Breaks are important, especially for a family unit. Problem is we can take the netbooks or smart phones with us now, which makes it even more difficult to really switch off even if we wanted to – *sigh*

  • LewisEvans

    We just booked our flights! Anyone fancy joining us?Love the video, by the way!:0)

  • barneyausten

    Yes please – somewhere hot and tropical!

  • barneyausten

    Thanks for the feedback Elaine. Great idea – take the holidays in the “lull” to minimise risk of losing opportunities – nice one.

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog/ fred

    Spot on Barney! Man… I guarantee you that 99% of the people that read this posts feels guilty abaut not taking proper holiday.I like the alternative of small breaks. It sounds more real for those that can definitely not take a week or two in a row…In my case, I'm getting married this year and will forcedly have to take three weeks… That will be a challenge!

  • barneyausten

    Thanks for the feedback Fred. The small break thing works really well – this is what I do at the moment. Having said that, a three week “forced” vacation doesn't sound that bad :)

  • paulmullan

    Good Topic Barney. 4 weeks into 2010 and I'd say most people are dreaming about the summer already.Are holidays not cheating? :-)Never been one for holidays as I can’t relax period. Don’t know if this is because for the most part I have always worked for myself or it’s just my make up. Personally I like shorter breaks than big long ones – bit like in America. I work extremely hard but having said this I rarely work after 12 on a Friday. I always feel charged but then again this could be because I am enjoying what I am doing. I guess the important message is take a break – whatever form. W/L Balance is important.How many people truly switch off on holidays anyway? Be they 2 hours/2 days/2 weeks/2 months. Technology makes it very difficult. Micky O’Leary will have to introduce a EUR1000k charge on mobiles and technology to help people.P

  • barneyausten

    Hi Paul. Holidays – cheating – absolutely not! And switching off on holidays – they should – technology is an excuse (appreciating the fact that some people have to be contactable…), maybe Mick should bring in that charge :).You make a very valid point – the break is the key, what you do with it and how long is very much up to the individual. It depends very much on the industry you are in as well as to whether the few days away or the big block of hols is the option for you.Thanks for the comments.Barney

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Fred, congratulations! I keep quiet on the “forcedly” if I was you, you never know who might be reading :)Barney, Great reminder to us all. Downtime is critical as you point out, one commitment that I have made to myself this year is that I will take a least one full day per week off. I say this because last year, I fell into the trap on working Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. As a result, I started to feel a drain on my energy reserves in turn limiting my overall effectiveness.

  • http://www.channelship.ie/blog/ Fred

    You're right man… will touch base with the missus to explain the real meaning :)

  • barneyausten

    hi Niall. Thanks for the feedback. No days off a week is not a good thing dude – you need to chillax once in a while :)

  • elainerogers

    Great post Barney.personally I enjoy the long breaks – really a chance to unwind (which takes over a week anyway) and get out of the zone – this can boost creativity and reduce burn-out. Disadvantage is we can get too far out of the zone, making it harder to get back into the saddle when we get back.Most businesses have a “lull” during the year, and a “high” in other months – I always plan my holidays around my “lulls” – works really well and I am minimising missing out on opportunities.Fred, Congratulations – I had a forced long holiday last summer – best thing ever (besides the wedding itself)Breaks are important, especially for a family unit. Problem is we can take the netbooks or smart phones with us now, which makes it even more difficult to really switch off even if we wanted to – *sigh*

  • LewisEvans

    We just booked our flights! Anyone fancy joining us?Love the video, by the way!:0)

  • barneyausten

    Yes please – somewhere hot and tropical!

  • barneyausten

    Thanks for the feedback Elaine. Great idea – take the holidays in the “lull” to minimise risk of losing opportunities – nice one.

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Hi Elli,
    I think all your points made here conjure up the essence of survival. It doesn’t have to be hardship out on a drought-ridden alti-plano, or choked and congested inner city, without fresh air.
    If we change our own attitude as business owners and not surround ourselves with those who need to do it the hard way, we find the niches and corners that still generate business.
    You said it about communicating with customers – imperative for repeat business and positive relationships.
    So mine are constant communication by never ending a conversation, appreciation of existing clients by bringing them onboard the journey, positive attitude (even on bad hair days) which incorporates confidence :)
    Ability to be diverse, without diluting the core message of my business.
    That’s enough for a Friday afternoon I think :)
    Thanks for the insights and great analogy, which I totally understand :)

  • Anonymous

    Elaine,

    Thanks for sharing your insight and how you are creating a microclimate for your business! It really is about the attitude that drives our businesses, especially on “bad hair days.”

  • http://blog.myprojecttracker.com Barney Austen

    Hi Elli. I enjoyed this analogy. I think the power of positive thinking can go a huge way to being a “micro-climate”. While I don’t believe that blind faith without substance will work – believe based on facts coupled with positivity does the trick. Thanks for sharing

  • Anonymous

    Barney,

    Attitude is an amazing thing! You can bolster yourself up on the bad days and talk yourself into despair on the good days. I’m the last person to suggest running a business on blind faith. At some point, you have to know if your efforts are producing revenue (and hopefully profit). That was what was so amazing about these conversations-they are not all good planners but they are positive thinkers and good at execution so their bottom line stayed healthy.

  • http://www.projectmanager.com online project management

    A very nicely put article. Its becoming something amidst economic crisis.

  • http://twitter.com/BlueRioBranding Jessi LaCosta

    Nice article. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/BlueRioBranding Jessi LaCosta

    Nice article – fresh and thought-provoking. Thanks!