Ahh – it’s summer in the northern hemisphere! Longer days and summer vacations. This is the time of year when most of us slow down a bit and seek out some time for rest and relaxation. Last year’s blog posting about summer found us all in a very different place. Travel was mostly out of the question. We were facing many more months of social distancing and isolation. Last year, I was encouraging entrepreneurs to see if they could use this time to reflect and rejuvenate in a more quiet and less social way. Following my own advice, I did just that and used the time to get started on a book that will be published this fall. Based on the conversations I have had with others, this seemed to be the norm. For many of us, the summer of 2020 was a year of reflection and pursuit of personal goals that seemed out of reach in the busyness of 2019 and years before. But, 2021 is a very different story! Travel and re-connecting are top of mind for most of us. According to Destination Analysts, as of June 7, 2021, 8 out of 10 Americans report they are ready to travel this summer!
Last month, my husband and I got a jump start on summer and took a nearly 3 week trip on our Aquila power catamaran, Resilience. We finished up the spring semester of classes, I sent my book editor my first full draft of my upcoming book and we locked up our home in Tampa, untied the dock lines and headed south. Unusually high winds kept us fairly close to shore but during our 18-day trip we were able to visit most of the west coast of South Florida and still get back home before the busy Memorial Day weekend. It was fabulous! I read several books, ate some fantastic food, made new friends at many of the marinas we visited and explored multiple communities along the Southwest Florida shore.
Everyone needs a break. Entrepreneurs probably more than anyone. There are numerous studies that have found that entrepreneurs work longer hours, take fewer vacations, and when they do, they report spending time checking in on the office. (I can remember this from my own childhood. My mother was a small business owner and our family vacations were few and far between and often had to be canceled due to unforeseen circumstances with employees or key customers).
Why is time away so important? Taking breaks increases overall productivity and reduces burnout in individuals. The following are few reasons why an entrepreneur needs to take breaks to increase overall efficiency.
- To maintain work/life balance: Health is a primary factor in everything we do, and it is our responsibility to maintain good health, and healthy relationships with people in our life. While travel can be exhausting, the change can also give us a chance to relax and refocus on what is most important to us – a key factor in staying mentally and physically healthy.
- Thinking clearly: When an entrepreneur is consumed in solving day to day problems while also having a goal and vision to follow, it can lead to burnout. Taking a break will often give space to stop what we are currently doing, zoom out a little and think from a big picture perspective.
- Delegate work: If you are an entrepreneur with employees, it is important to be able to delegate work and ensure that the business is functioning smoothly while on a break, and this can also pave way to build trust and motivation amongst employees.
- Inspiration & Ideas: In my earlier blog postings I shared research and stories about the power of travel to inspire creative ideas.
- Social connections: This is one of the reasons I love travel. When we travel on our boat we stay at marinas and meet interesting people from all walks of life. Some of them we stay in touch with after travels, others we simply enjoy in the moment.
- Investing in Yourself: Mental health is extremely important when you are an entrepreneur. For the entrepreneur, the responsibility of important decisions and people relying on you can be exhausting and lead to burnout. Prioritizing your physical and mental health is not only important for the entrepreneur but is vital to the success of the entire company.
During our trip, I stayed connected to my children by texting them pictures and updates on our travels. There was one particular photo I sent where I was sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of The Little Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island. My daughter responded that I it looked like I was having a good time. I responded with an emoji smile. And she said, no really, mom, you look totally rested and relaxed.
And, she was right. I returned rested, relaxed and rejuvenated and ready to plan some more travel. I also made some very interesting discoveries, connections and had some insights which I will share in my next blog when I talk about a visit the Edison and Ford Estates in Ft. Myers.
Photo: Sunset on Gasparilla Island, FL.