The Value of Time Off

I just returned from my summer vacation, a wonderful cruise up the inside passage of Alaska, from Vancouver to Whittier, and then a couple of days in Denali National Park and it inspires me to write about two things.

First, if you haven’t been to Alaska, put it on your list of someplace to go real soon. It’s my 5th trip to our 49th state and each time I become more amazed at the sheer beauty of the place. I’ve been on two cruises, I bicycled with some of my buddies from Anchorage to Valdez, I spent some time working in Anchorage with a client of mine and I even spent two weeks up in the Brooks range on a rafting trip which ended in an Eskimo village. So with that extensive exposure, I know what I’m telling you when I say it’s a place you want to get to as soon as possible.

Second, I wonder how many of you take time for a serious vacation. It seems to me that so many of us feel so compelled to work that taking at least a couple of weeks off isn’t something we do. If that’s true for you, I highly recommend that you get in the habit of taking at least two weeks off in the summer and another two in the winter.

There are so many reasons for this. Have you heard the expression: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy? It’s very true. We all need time to rest, relax and restore; to get away from the daily grind and clear our minds. I got in the habit of doing this a long time ago and I’ve never regretted it. On this trip, I took an entire day, when we were at sea crossing the gulf of Alaska, to reflect on where I have been, where I’m at in my life, and what I want to focus on in the future, not just for the next year or two, which would have been fine, but for the rest of the decade. I returned from our vacation rested and restored, with a clear agenda, and lots of enthusiasm to get to work.

Everyone I speak to who is committed to taking periodic time off reports that they’re more productive, more effective and more centered and produce more results than when they weren’t so committed.

In conclusion, it’s only the middle of August. There’s plenty of summer left throughout the northern hemisphere. If you haven’t had some really quality time off this year, it’s not too late. You might even fly to Anchorage, rent a car, explore the Kenai Peninsula, drive up to Denali National Park and then head up to Fairbanks before heading home. The weather is still great, the scenery is spectacular, and it’s even probably a lot cooler than where you presently are.