I spent over a decade building CCAW. The journey was pretty crazy—filled with extreme highs and lows. I didn’t realize the value in taking time away. I worked five years straight before taking a one-week vacation and around eight or nine years before taking a two-week one. It took people close to me encouraging me to take time off and feeling mentally and physically exhausted.
On vacation, I didn’t look at work unless it was an absolute emergency. I made sure to communicate this to the team to set expectations.
I hadn’t realized how wound up I was. Time away brought this into focus. I worked out regularly, so I had a physical release, but this was mental. It took me longer than it should have to relax and enjoy my downtime. Working on something intensely for so long had slowly changed my mental state and I hadn’t realized it. Time away let me reset mentally and relax.
It’s common knowledge in my entrepreneurial circles that sleep is a challenge. A fair number of us don’t sleep soundly because our minds are racing. Waking in the middle of the night becomes the norm. We learn to function on suboptimal sleep. I slept much better on vacation, recharging mentally and physically.
I come up with many of my best ideas and solutions to nagging problems when I’m away from the business (like some people say they do in the shower!). I’ll be thinking about something else and an idea will pop into my head. I jot it down so I won’t keep thinking about it. Over the years I’ve noticed that when I get things out of my head, my subconscious mind uses the bandwidth in creative ways.
My experiences with time away are probably extreme, but I share them so others can learn from them. You may think there’s no good time to be away from your business, but sometimes that’s exactly what you and the business need.
I hope everyone enjoyed their downtime this holiday weekend!