Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

Hey ,

I don't know about you, but I'm incredibly bad at taking time off and actually taking a vacation, even for just a couple of days, can be hard. Instead I've mostly fallen into the fallacy of "being busy", which has somewhat hindered me from finding the time to switch off from my work.

Finding any kind of work-life balance is something that I've found to be quite tough to be honest. And most of the time, my mind has been my own worst enemy: I really struggle to switch it off and not think about work.

What's even harder is not to think about new ideas... I can totally go on a holiday, but I find inspiration so easily that my mind inevitably wanders to things that aren't related to the holiday at all. :)

Getting Better

To get better at switching off, I had to accept two things:

  1. Passion will always make me work more. Because I love my "job", I don't actually mind working more or harder. In fact, it's often been a bit of a comfort zone for me.
  2. Balance is whatever works for you in any given moment. There's no magical or generic recipe that you get to apply consistently. Finding balance works best when you can be liquid about what you're doing at what time.

I might also add that you need to have the motivation to improve in this regard. That's the only way that you'll have the self-discipline to actually take a holiday and force yourself to rest and switch off.

How To Take a Holiday

I'm writing this as I'm getting ready to spend a week with family & friends in Mauritius and my experiences (for taking a holiday properly as an entrepreneur) has mostly been crafted with various trips I've done with my wife in the last 2 years.

This is how you take a holiday:

  • Book trips months in advance and pay for it up-front (as much as you can). This makes it difficult to delay your trips or even back out of it.
  • Go to some place where you ideally don't have broadband access. Alternatively go somewhere where the broadband is so excruciatingly slow that it's really shitty to get work done.
  • Fill your days with loads of activities. This serves as a distraction from work.
  • When you are out on day trips, leave your smartphone at the hotel. This is hard, because it's really convenient having things like Maps and Google to help you out, but not having it around forces you to stay disconnected.
  • Leave your computer at home. This is the best way to avoid real work. Sure, you might take a tablet, but doing real work on a tablet is inefficient and shitty.
  • Read actual books or get a Kindle. I absolutely love my iPad Mini and I always take it along on holidays to get some reading done. But I constantly find myself checking into e-mail or social media.
  • When you are reading, avoid reading anything related to your work. Ideally you should be reading fiction, which mostly means anything except Harry Potter or 50 Shades of Grey qualifies as good reads.

I've by no means perfected my own blueprint, but doing these things have definitely helped me to switch off more on holidays and thus allowed me to come back refreshed. Which was the #1 goal of the holiday to start...

I'll see you in a weeks' time. :)