I am publishing this post after almost a month of time off. Not continuously of course but with enough off and on, and off again time to make me describe this as one of the best summers ever. My family would agree as we got to travel to my home country of Portugal and then to Florida for some time to really unplug. And even though we expect Summer breaks to happen we somehow still have a hard time taking the time off. That is common when we become passionate about our work.
As a leader I understand the need to be present and support your team. To make sure they have what they need; to provide direction and clear the path for work to be done on time. Sure, a good leader knows how to delegate and trusts their team but this is less about needing to be involved and more about the desire to be one in the “trenches” helping when needed. Great leaders do that. But great leaders also know when they need a break; when they recognize they can be more effective if they step aside. This post is about the 3 benefits we can all enjoy when taking some time off. It ultimately helps us, our families, and our co-workers.
Hit the reset button and replenish yourself
The first benefit can be seen as selfish but similar to an airplane flight where we are to place the oxygen mask on ourselves before aiding others this is really about positioning us to be better when the time comes to help others. That is because you can’t help anyone if you can’t help yourself. Hitting the reset button doesn’t mean you forget everything you’ve done up until now but it means you assess your wins and losses and you… sit on it. You do nothing but take the time to breathe. Instead of taking action you take… no action. You go for a walk on the beach, enjoy a sunset and catch up on your sleep. I did all of it while away and it was great. You reset the personal habits that make you physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.
That is what I did in Portugal! With every opportunity I would go to the cafe and enjoy one of those amazing pastries I grew up eating. The ability to walk old streets and new streets without a sense of time healed me from a constant state of busy. That is when I finally rested.
Make new memories with family and friends
In addition to focusing on yourself taking time off allows you to spend time with the ones you care about the most. Whether that is family and friends, or both, spending time with those who have been by your side through the ups and downs can be re-energizing. Being away from work helped me see, acknowledge, and fully appreciate the people most close to me.
While in Portugal and Florida I would wake up earlier than most in my family and after enjoying some time for myself I would greet everyone with a smile and breakfast (or an invitation for more pastries). We built new memories with both sides of the family by filling our time with walks by the beach, boat trips, or moped rides. Those memories will hold for a lifetime and they are only made possible because I took the time off.
Review your purpose and adjust for your goals
One of the big reasons I love Summer time, besides the weather and the multiple trips to the beach, is the opportunity to reassess my personal and professional goals in the context of a full year. It is a perfect time as it allows for a midpoint review for the first 6 months and adjust if needed for the second 6 months. For over a decade I have done this exercise and it always provides a sense of peace when moving into the future with confidence.
During my time in Portugal and Florida many of my morning walks allowed me the time to see my purpose beyond the professional goals and assess my personal objectives as well. I used many of those moments to pray and check on my motives and what is really important to me and my family. Those moments have allowed me to have a clear sense of direction for the remainder of the year and beyond.
So what do you enjoy the most about taking time off? In what ways do you see time off benefiting you and your family? Be sure to share below.