What Are Your Vacation Plans?

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Doesn’t that quote make you think of summer? I’m quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson this week in honor of my youngest daughter Emerson’s 3rd birthday yesterday, and her birthday is my new, unofficial start of summer. And the start of summer has me thinking about vacation.  

Yes, vacation. You know, that “time off” that we try to “squeeze in” between meetings, deliverables, proposals and the rest of the never-ending to-do list. Somehow, someway, despite (or maybe because of) technological advances and efficiencies, vacation has become something we tolerate instead of honoring. This is your reminder to schedule and plan some vacation if you haven’t already done so!

As Anne Lamott said, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” So, how are you going to unplug? I mean disconnect totally from our phones, email, work, etc. Really disconnect. 

I know, I know, you are busy. You can’t possibly disconnect.  

You can’t? Or you won’t? 

Listen, I am all about work ethic, ambitious goals and getting it done. I’ve worn the busy badge and hard work badges with honor. But over the years, I’ve also realized I’m not just all about working and building; I’m also about rest, recovery, and resetting! “Work hard, play hard,” as my military upbringing goes.  

As leaders, we need to encourage time off so our teams can reset and recharge.

The best way to do that? Take time off ourselves! Tell people about your upcoming vacation and ask them not IF but WHAT their vacation plans are for the summer. And when they answer, be genuinely excited about it. Celebrate their time off!  

Hard work is critical, and being responsive to customers is important. But taking a true vacation, totally disconnecting, forces our organizations and us to be proactive, build redundancy, plan ahead, and manage our workload—all positives. And when you get back to work, you are that much more engaged. 

I don’t care if it’s going north or south. To the beach or the breweries. International or intercoastal. Turn off your phone, shut down your email and change up your environment! And if you are a leader at any level, tell your team to do the same.

So…what are your vacation plans this summer?

BJ Kraemer, President